Trading Hill was Genius

As the Kingdom crumbled and the rest of the AFC West was celebrating last week’s bombshell trade of Tyreek Hill to Miami, many people seemed to forget one important fact, Brett Veach is the GM of the Chiefs.

You remember the guy, who rebuilt the entire offensive line in one off-season? While L.A. Charger’s receiver Keenan Allen was prematurely celebrating their AFC West title in March, and the Broncos faithful were dreaming of the post-season behind newly acquired QB Russell Wilson, the AFC West should have been more concerned with the trade than delighted. Why, when the Chiefs shocked the NFL and the fan base, should the fans be happy and the rest of the division be uneasy? Because it was the right move. Not only was it the right move, but it has afforded Brett Veach the ammunition he needs to revamp this team for the second phase of Patrick Mahomes’ career.

The Chiefs were a really good team last season, well sometimes they were, and other times they were not good, then there were times when they were simply bad. The rest of the NFL caught up to the blueprint the Chiefs had been using since Mahomes became the full-time starter. A change was both necessary and inevitable. Now, most of us who bleed red and gold would have never suspected that this renaissance would come at the cost of Tyreek Hill, but in a way, Hill forced that decision. So, now Hill is comfy and warm in South Beach playing beach volleyball and the Chiefs have the most cap space and most draft picks in the NFL. That should be a cause of great concern amongst the AFC West, not celebration, while they hanging their hat on the notion that the Chiefs are finished dominating the division.

Veach ended last week with a few under-the-radar moves that will pay dividends and this offense is one trade-up-in-the-draft pick away from solidifying the receiver corps. In a way, Hill may have done the Chiefs a favor, the reason being that had Hill remained on the team, Andy Reid would have been tempted to trot out the same offensive scheme he has for the last three seasons. Now the Kingdom and the NFL are going to see something new and Mahomes can be creative in a whole new way.  Can we all agree that Reid had become a bit complacent and predicable (see 2nd half AFC Championship game vs. Bengals)? Now, Reid has no doubt already started working on some new schemes that rely on spreading the ball around as opposed to focusing on just Kelce and Hill. This should concern the rest of the AFC West.

We can expect Veach to use some of their 12 picks next month to move around in the draft, that maneuvering should net the last piece of the offense in the form of a top-flight first-round receiver on a rookie contract. Trading Hill for this season’s rebranding efforts is the type of tough decision that a good GM can make. Once that final piece falls into place, the offense is complete and ready for PM 15 phase 2. JuJu, MVS, Hardman, Kelce, and a rookie to be named later is quite a solid group of pass-catchers. And don’t sleep on the return of Jody Fortson and the addition of Ronald Jones as factors either.

The AFC West loaded up on defensive line talent to pressure Mahomes, but Veach was one step ahead of those moves the last off-season as he assembled a completely new offensive line. So, those signings to bolster the pass rush by the rest of the AFC West are all fine and well, but Veach was ready for that contingency and this o-line should be up to the challenge in year #2. Just for good measure, Veach solidified depth along the front line by adding Geron Christian and bringing back Andrew Wylie.

This leaves the defensive side of the ball. Most expected, this was going to get the most attention this off-season. The highlight early on was the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) not getting an extension, another big shock. However, reports suggest he, not unlike Hill, is looking for big money that Veach is unwilling to part with for the aging safety, enter Justin Reid. Reid is a strong addition and with any luck will turn into H.B. 2.0. Resigning Frank Clark to a team-friendly deal was another brilliant off-season move by Veach. Add in the additions of special teamer Elijah Lee and iron-man Jermaine Carter, Veach is plugging those holes left by some of the departing defensive squad.

Rounding out the busy week for the Chief’s front office are the rumors regarding the interest in Stephon Gilmore and James Bradberry. Guess what rest of the AFC West? The Chiefs, thanks to the Hill trade, have both the draft capital and cap space to not add just one, but potentially both of those players to the secondary. If that scenario were to play out before the draft and June 1st cuts, that would be quite an overhaul in one off-season.

Is this team better without Hill? Not today, but it is possible it will be soon. Blasphemous you say? Had the Chiefs signed Hill to the massive extension he was seeking, this team would have had major cap issues for a receiver who will eventually lose the title of the fastest man in football while continuing to cash the biggest checks for a WR in football. It wouldn’t have been ideal for the future of a team with a lot of positions to address. The Cheetah not on the field next season for the Chiefs is a difficult truth to accept, expected. However, if you were around long enough to remember Tony Gonzalez being traded or Jared Allen, well then you have been here before and know the dust has settled and it is time to move on, just like Hill decided to do.

Veach did the right thing and with the cache of draft capital and cap space he now has at his disposal, the sky is the limit and we can expect Veach to continue to be incredibly aggressive in the coming days and weeks. As for the rest of the AFC West, they should be concerned, very concerned about what Veach does next. While the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers have saddled themselves with high-priced aging veterans, Veach is looking ahead to the future and positioning the Chiefs not for a down season, but for several seasons of staying at the top. The AFC West will be exposed to the shiny new 2.0 version of the best quarterback in football. What exactly will that look like? The AFC West has no idea and that should concern them, a lot.