Brett Veach became the Kansas City Chiefs‘ general manager on July 10, 2017, after the team had parted ways with his predecessor John Dorsey.
Veach has molded and shaped the team he believed could contend for a championship year in and year out. Now nearing the end of six years with the team, his Chiefs stand one game away from a fifth-consecutive AFC title appearance.
So what has helped make Veach successful? Those who have worked work with him have observed a strong work ethic, attention to detail, patience, fearlessness and the ability to shut out outside voices that seek to second-guess his decisions.
But we have seen another strong tendency: a willingness to acquire new players (though free agency or trade) right before the season starts — or even right before each season’s trade deadline.
Here are some notable examples:
November 21, 2017: The Chiefs signed former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. He appeared in six games, collecting 10 tackles and 2 passes defensed. The team released him the following February. He retired from the NFL that July.
September 1, 2019: Kansas City signed former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy upon his release from the Buffalo Bills on final cutdown day. He appeared in nine games, accumulating 101 carries for 465 yards and four touchdowns — plus 28 receptions for 181 yards and one touchdown. He was allowed to walk after his contract expires the following spring.
December 16, 2019: The Chiefs claimed former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals. Playing in two regular-season games, he collected three tackles (one solo) and a sack. In three postseason games (including Super Bowl LIV) he had four assists and two quarterback hits. He was not re-signed for the following season.
October 17, 2020: Kansas City signed free agent running back Le’Veon Bell. Over nine games, he had 63 carries for 264 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, plus 13 receptions for 99 yards. The Chiefs did not re-sign him for the next year.
November 18, 2020: The Chiefs signed free-agent cornerback Deandre Baker. After playing in 10 matchups — with 21 tackles (17 solo) and a sack — he broke his left femur. He was placed on the injured list in January, then re-signed in February but ultimately released in August of 2022.
September 27, 2021: Kansas City signed free-agent wide receiver Josh Gordon. He appeared in 12 games, collecting five receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. He was sent down to the Chiefs’ practice squad in late January. Re-signed in the offseason, he lasted until the next-to-last 2022 cutdown.
October 27, 2022: Veach sent the Chiefs’ 2023 third-round compensatory pick and sixth-round selection to the New York Giants for former first-round wide receiver Kadarius Toney. In his second year in the league, Toney was considered a gifted young player who had never become the receiver the Giants had envisioned — mostly by missing multiple games with injuries. Over 12 games in New York, he had 41 receptions for 420 yards. He had already missed five 2022 games with a hamstring injury.
If your initial thought was that Toney would be Josh Gordon 2.0, you were not alone. But then... he played.
Toney has now appeared in six games. He’s accumulated 14 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns, along with five rushes for 59 yards and a score. While those stats aren’t mind-blowing, it’s been obvious that when he gets the ball in his hands, he is always a threat to score. His vision is extraordinary — and he has demonstrated the ability to break tackles and get yards after the catch.
In other words: with the ball in his hands, Toney is electric.
As one of the league’s top GMs, Veach and his team leave no stone unturned. As we have seen, these moves don’t always work out — but the goal has always been the same: with enough swings for the fences, you’ll eventually hit a home run. And along the way, you’ll hit a few singles and doubles, too.
And the best thing about all of these moves is that they have cost Kansas City next to nothing.
While it is still too early to classify Toney’s acquisition as a home run, all signs now point that direction. If he can stay healthy through the postseason, the Chiefs are going to be even more dangerous than anyone expected.