Perhaps no team has endured a wilder year than the Kansas City Chiefs. After winning the AFC West in 2016, the Chiefs were expected to load up and make a run at Super Bowl LII.
Instead, Kansas City traded up 17 spots in the NFL Draft to land Patrick Mahomes. In June, they released Jeremy Maclin only two years into a five-year, $55 million deal. Days later, the team subsequently fired general manager John Dorsey, for reasons that remain unclear. Then, after promoting Brett Veach, Kansas City overcame all the drama to win another AFC West title, but not without more craziness.
The team went 5-0 before losing six of seven, and then winning out. During that losing streak, Peters was suspended by the Chiefs for one game after launching an official’s flag into the stands at MetLife Stadium before leaving the field, then coming back sans socks.
In January, in the AFC Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titans, the Chiefs blew a 21-3 lead at Arrowhead Stadium, losing in epic fashion. Less than a month later, Kansas City dealt Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, receiving a third-round pick and star corner Kendall Fuller as a return.
Earlier this week, I wrote that barring a historic return, the Chiefs would not deal Peters for a bevy of reasons. I tweeted to my heart’s content about it. Unless the Rams gave up a slew of top draft picks, I was dead wrong.
All logic pointed to Peters being in Kansas City for at least two more seasons, playing out the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. There could even be a strong case made that with the franchise tag, the Chiefs controlled him for the next three years. Instead, he’s gone, and his Hall of Fame talent now resides in Los Angeles.
So what are the Chiefs doing? What is the plan? It’s tough to say, but here’s a best guess.
Kansas City has a ready-made offense with Mahomes now leading the way. The Chiefs have Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce around him, along with a well-paid offensive line entering its prime.
Whether or not the Chiefs had traded Peters, this offseason was always going to be about the defense. Kansas City had to fix a unit that finished 28th in yardage against, including the 29th-ranked pass defense. With Eric Berry returning from an Achilles tear, the defense still stands to be better, but there has to be more coming.
The Chiefs have the cap space to go after impact free agents and, assuming the Rams included their 2018 first-round pick, some draft capital to shore up the front seven and the hole left by Peters. Now, Veach has to make all that happen, no small feat.