With Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller both set to hit free agency, it’s common sense that the Chiefs will be looking to acquire a CB. One of the many quality players set to be on the market is the Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay. While Slay is as elite as they come (three straight Pro-Bowl selections and 1 All-Pro), the Chiefs should not pursue him.
With a little over $16 million available in cap space, the Chiefs need to be very frugal as to who they target. Factor in that players like the aforementioned Fuller and Breeland; as well as Chris Jones, Demarcus Robinson, and other quality talent are also impending FA’s, it becomes even more problematic from a financial standpoint. To stack onto that even further, regardless if Sammy Watkins (or others) is restructured or cut, the team still has 3 club options it needs to decide on picking up in Damien Williams, Cameron Irving, and Damien Wilson.
While Slay still has one year left on his contract with the Lions, he has been openly involved in trade discussions for the better part of a year. However, trading for him to be a one year rental isn’t an option. As part of the negotiation for the trade, a new deal for Slay must also be in place from the team acquiring him. That’s where the problem lies if you are the Chiefs.
Thanks to the wonderful world of social media we now know the number that Slay is looking for. Though there’s debate that Slay is arguably one of the best CB’s in the league, making him the top paid corner would be a huge mistake. At 29 years old a decline is inevitable. As a “man” cover corner, that decline can be especially rapid (see the rise and fall of Darrelle Revis). Slay plays a position that sees an influx of young, fast players continually being brought into the league. For a position that relies on speed and agility as much as technique, an older player at high cost is not ideal. From a strictly financial aspect, it wouldn’t make much sense to sign a player knowing that a sharp decline could be a reality before the duration of the contract is up. Even more so when you account for that player taking up a large portion of the salary cap. Handing out the contract isn’t the only problem, however.
Despite the inevitable divorce between Slay and the Lions, Detroit is still looking for top assets (and rightly so) in return from a trade. While they seem to have backed off of a 1st, they are still expecting a Day 2 pick. The Chiefs only have 5 (1st-5th round) selections in this year’s draft.
With the team already in cap trouble and in need at some positions, it becomes important to build through the draft with shrewd decision making. Signing an aging CB while losing a premium draft selection is the exact opposite process. So while Darius Slay is a great CB and deserves to get paid, the cost is just too high for the Chiefs to be bidders.