Trade Candidates

If it’s true that the Chiefs have Champagne Problems, what ought they do about it? Rather than simply cutting players who belong on an NFL roster, they can make a trade. The criteria for these trades should be:

1. This player has demonstrated the ability to contribute at the NFL level in a manner worthy of an asset (player or draft pick).

2. The Chiefs have another (young/unproven) player who offers a similar floor and/or a higher ceiling, and/or a lower cap hit in that area of the roster:

2.1. Backups throughout the offense

2.2. Defensive back

2.3. Linebacker

3. There are 1 or more teams clearly in need of an upgrade at that position.

DISCLAIMER: I have NOTHING PERSONAL against any of the players mentioned as potential trade candidates. This has nothing to do with their character or work ethic. It has nothing to do with their on-field performance, except that they’ve shown some value at the NFL level. It has next-to-nothing to do with how good/bad their contracts are. This is a thought experiment designed to look at the "business side" of football. Like Big Red, I’d like to keep all the players the Chiefs have on the 90-man roster, but that’s not reality. This is an imaginary exercise to abide by the constraints imposed by the league on all 32 teams to limit their regular season rosters to 53 players.

That being said, let’s start with the most important position in football:

· Backup QB Shane Buechele: If after 2 years of development Shane can’t beat out Blaine Gabbert for the QB2 role this offseason, then perhaps it’s time to let him go to a place where he can take on that role or even the QB3 role on a team with lesser talent in other areas. I would feel even more strongly about this if Chris Oladokun looks like a competent QB3 who we can stash on the practice squad. The big name to watch last year was the Arizona Cardinals. They now have a new coach and drafted Clayton Tune so they may not be interested. Taking a quick glance at current depth charts, the Packers (Sean Clifford and Danny Etling) and Rams (Brett Rypien and Stetson Bennett) could perhaps use a better option at QB2. I’d take a 7th. Perhaps if they can get two or more teams into some sort of bidding war, it could be a conditional 6th that becomes a 5th based on playtime? At the time of this writing, someone may prefer to bring in Nick Foles, so Buechele’s trade value could be minimal.

· Backup OTs PTW, Kinnard, and Niang: The Donovan Smith signing seems to have turned a starting spot battle into a roster spot battle. I’m not saying the Chiefs can’t keep all 3 of these guys, but if someone came calling looking for O-line help, then one of these guys could be worth something. According to FTNfantasy (the only place I could find projections for 2023 o-lines), the Rams, Raiders, and Bucs currently have the worst projections. Of those 3, the Rams and Bucs seem most likely to be trade partners with the Chiefs. Depending on how desperate they are, maybe a conditional 6th rounder that becomes a 5th based on playtime/performance.

· WR7/return specialists Richie James and Justin Watson: Most people think our starting WRs are MVS, Skyy, and Toney. Unless he turns into a total bust, the Chiefs are keeping Rashee Rice even if he doesn’t play much this year. IF, and it’s a big if, Justyn Ross emerges as an NFL-caliber player (he’s got NFL talent), then one of Richie James or Justin Watson will be the odd man out if we’re keeping only 6 WRs. My hunch is Richie has a higher floor and ceiling after emerging as the WR1 for the Giants last year. Yet we gave Watson a 2-year contract AFTER signing James AND his measurables are eerily similar to Juju’s. According to NFL spin zone, the Titans, Texans, and Falcons have the 3 worst WR rooms in the NFL. [side note: They put the chiefs at #5 with a caveat about Kelce.] Could the Chiefs flip one of these free agent pickups for a 6th round pick?

· Backup RB CEH: With the emergence of Pacheco and the re-signing of McKinnon, it looks like Clyde will be the RB3 headed into camp. But what if one of Deneric Prince or La’Mical Perine emerges as a comparable/better option? A post-June 1 trade would net the Chiefs about $1M in cap space. Who might be interested in CEH? Chicago is currently starting Khalil Herbert. I’d put them at the top of the list. Denver may be interested depending on the status of Javonte Williams. New Orleans could need someone if Kamara ends up in jail. The Bucs again if Rachaad White is their starter. I’d even throw in the Commanders if Bienemy wants a reunion with another KC guy who knows his system. If I were Veach, I’d take a conditional 7th that becomes a 6th based on playtime/performance. Anything more than that would feel like an outstanding offer to me.

· TE3/4 Jody Forston/Noah Grey: It is possible the Chiefs only keep 3 TEs on the 53 man roster this year. IF that happens, perhaps Fortson or Grey could garner a 6th or 7th round pick. Neither has been terribly productive but both have had their moments, AND both have shared a locker room with All-Time Great Travis Kelce. That could be worth something to a team looking for a bit of a spark on offense and a winning culture in the locker room.

· CB3/4 Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams: It’s amazing how well these 2 played as late-round rookies. And yet the Chiefs drafted Chamarri Conner and Nic Jones, and Nazeeh Johnson is still on the roster as well. These 3 have not demonstrated that they can play at an NFL level, so I don’t think they’d fetch much in a trade. Watson and Williams have. Could one of them net a conditional 4th rounder that becomes a 3rd? That’d be a pretty sweet haul IF one of these other 3 can emerge as a competent cover man. Conner played some slot in college. Nic Jones is a Rashad Fenton clone. Nazeeh has incredible athleticism and versatility. According to, the 3 worst secondaries in the NFL next year will be the Cardinals, the Raiders, and the Rams. The next worst are both playoff contenders: the Jaguars and Vikings. I would feel comfortable trading one of these guys to any of these teams for the right price, with JAX being my last option.

· Backup S/special teamer Deon Bush: If Chamarri Conner is regarded more as a safety, then the Chiefs have 4 guys ahead of Bush on the depth chart: Justin Reid, Mike Edwards, Bryan Cook, and Conner. I’d trade Bush for a 7th rounder from any of the teams mentioned above.

· Starting S Justin Reid: An alternative for clearing out some room at safety would be to trade Justin Reid. This may not be a popular idea, but it would net the Chiefs a greater return, maybe a 5th round pick. Based on need and cap space, best fits might be Bears, Colts, and Cardinals.

· LB Willie Gay: I love Willie Gay! He had a PFF grade of 68 last year so my hunch is several GMs around the NFL do too. He’s in a contract year. You’ve got Tranquill and Chenal vying for playing time. IF we’re NOT keeping Gay around long term, now is the time to move him. I’m thinking somewhere in the range of a 4th round pick. The alternative would be to let him walk in free agency after this year, which could also be a good way to handle it. Unless I’m totally misreading his value, I’d guess he’d qualify for 5th round compensatory pick, plus or minus one round. Here’s the list of teams projected to start a LB with a PFF grade under 50 next year: BUF, LAC, TB. Of those 3, my preference would be to trade with Tampa if we’re talking about a draft pick to avoid facing Willie in the playoffs. There are 4 more teams starting LBs with grades 55 and under: SEA, PIT, LV, and GB. I would be comfortable trading with any of those teams though PIT would be my last choice as they’ll be much better this year if TJ Watt stays healthy.

· Loser of LB5 roster battle Jack Cochrane/Cam Jones: I’m guessing the Chiefs only carry 5 LBs on the 53-man roster. That leaves one of these two on the outside looking in. Perhaps one of them can be stashed on the practice squad, but if Chiefs can get a conditional 7th rounder for one of them, I’d take it.

Besides a draft pick, is there any other compensation the Chiefs might consider? If we are looking for more of a run-stuffing NT, maybe Kenny Clark or Vita Vea, but their cap hits are pretty insane. Plus, if we want a player like that, we can sign Linval Joseph off the street. Christian Barmore out of New England (boo! hiss!) is another option still on his rookie contract.

Big shout out to my man TigerDawg for inspiring this article with his comments about trading Buechele.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.