When speaking to reporters back on May 3, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach referred to a conversation he had with team CEO Clark Hunt about whether he would be allowed to trade the team’s first-round pick in 2023 — when Kansas City will be hosting the NFL Draft.
“The only thing Clark [Hunt] told me was you can’t trade next year’s one,” laughed Veach. Kansas City’s head honcho is known for making deals, flipping a 2021 first-rounder for Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Veach and his staff executed a pair of trade-ups in the 2022 draft, including one that moved the Chiefs eight spots up in the first round to snag a possible Day 1 starter: Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie. But neither move jeopardized next year’s golden egg.
“I certainly went in with that mindset that I couldn’t move the one,” admitted the Chiefs’ GM.
“I said, ‘I get it,’” Veach said of his conversation with the team’s owner. “[But] I did remind him: Vegas is not using one or two. So you know... it’s been done just this year.”
It was clear to many observers that Veach and Hunt’s whole conversation about the team’s 2023 first-round pick was tongue-in-cheek — but not to all observers. Since then, some have believed that Hunt had expressly forbidden Veach from trading away the team’s first-round pick in 2023.
Meeting with reporters in his annual mid-season press conference on Monday afternoon, Hunt made it a priority to clarify his position on the matter.
“Well, Brett and I have had an ongoing joke here for several years — since we learned that the draft was coming to Kansas City — that we had to have our first-round pick for this draft,” said the owner. “Of course, at the end of the day, if there’s a transaction that makes sense for the club, I’m certainly not going to stand in the way of that.”
Hunt then used a recent mid-season trade — one which involved trading only a third-round compensatory pick and a sixth-round pick — as a for-instance.
“I think the Kadarius Toney trade that took place a little over a week ago is an example of that — a player that Brett had been very excited about for a couple of years,” he added. “We had an opportunity to make a trade — and add somebody who not only can help us this year, but will help us down the road.”
Hunt went on to say that while he is excited that Kansas City will be hosting the NFL’s annual selection meeting, the main focus remains the same as it would be in any other year: acquiring players who will make his team better.
“What I’m most excited about is just the incredible celebration of the National Football League — and, indirectly, the Kansas City Chiefs — that the draft’s going to be,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for everyone who’s associated with the Chiefs Kingdom to come to Kansas City [to] party and celebrate for a couple [of] days while the draft takes place.
“And, of course — most importantly — at the end of the day, I hope we get some great players that help us win on the field.”