ArrowChop: Will the Chiefs trade for James Washington?

With trade rumors on the rise for James Washington, will the Chiefs throw their cap in and try to trade for him?

Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we break down this week’s hot topic.

Outside of Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs don’t have anyone to fill the WR2 spot for them. There is a battle at this moment for that spot is between Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, and Cornell Powell. While all these players are good in their own aspects, the Chiefs could trade for someone to immediately improve their WR core.

Enter James Washington. Drafted in 2018, Washington has been buried under the Steelers’ depth chart among players like Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Dionte Johnson. Well, that has upset him, not getting the amounts of reps he likes; so much so that he has requested a trade per report by ESPN.

With that said, will the Chiefs trade for James Washington? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle and find out:

The Chiefs will trade for James Washington

This side believes so as such:

Firstly, he has shown to be solid even with the number of snaps he played. Washington played 44% of offensive snaps in 2020, and still put up good stats. He totaled 30 catches for 392 yards (13.1 yards per reception) and five touchdowns. While he didn’t put up any 100-yard games, he was still serviceable in his role, aiding the Steelers to an 11-5 record and a playoff birth.

Secondly, he is a cheap pickup that the Chiefs can trade for. He is in the last year of his contract that is worth $1,093,820 in base salary alone. The Chiefs can easily afford that as they still have about $7.9 million in cap space remaining. Also, he could be a cheap trade target for the Steelers. The Steelers desperately need o-linemen, so the Chiefs could send over one of their vets or even a mid-to-late-round draft pick to snag him here.

Finally, he can easily fit himself into the Chiefs’ pass-heavy offensive system, which is where he deserves to be. Oklahoma State, where Washington went to college, is known for its balanced system now, but back when he was in college, the passing game was where it was at. In his senior year (2017), in totaled 74 catches for 1549 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 20.9 yards per reception. He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award and was a Consensus All-American.

The Steelers mainly relied on the short and shorter mid areas of the field in the passing game due to Big Ben’s arm (he averaged 6.6 yards per throw). Washington hasn’t thrived as he should’ve, but he would prosper in an offense like the Chiefs’, with Mahomes’ big arm averaging 8.1 yards per pass last year, and with him showing off his arm in the middle and deep areas of the field. And, after he becomes accustomed to the playbook, he could be putting up great stats, plausibly averaging 15 yards or more per reception and having more than 600 yards receiving if all goes well.

The Chiefs won’t trade for James Washington

This side believes so as such:

Firstly, his catch percentage was anything but what you would describe as good. While he did have 30 catches, it was also on 56 targets, yielding a 53.6 catch percentage. It is terrible, but what truly is worse is that it was better in 2019, catching 55% of passes thrown his way. He has digressed, and that isn’t something you want in a player that you want to start. He also had a career-high drop percentage, 7.1% (four drops), to add insult to injury. While Roethlisberger isn’t what he used to be, you still should have a catch percentage higher than 53.6; you can only blame so much on him.

Secondly and finally, the Chiefs may stick to what they already have. The easiest example is Mecole Hardman, who in 45% of snaps in 2020, had 41 catches for 560 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a way higher catch percentage than Washington did in 2020 (66.1%). Hardman has continued to improve in camp, so they may lean on him as the other starter while Robinson and the others fill in the other gaps in the depth chart.

Do you think the Chiefs will trade for Washington? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HunterStanton8 and @ArrowheadLive. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day.