With the defense underperforming in a disappointing 27-24 loss to Cincinnati, is it time for Chris Jones to get out of Kansas City? It’s a bad idea in most respects, but there could be some really good outcomes of trading Chris Jones, let’s discuss.
After an early season DPOY campaign that saw him record 10 sacks in 11 games, a 0-sack performance against the Bengals in a stunning 24-27 loss has some fans demanding he is traded in the offseason. So, as all fan bases do, Twitter users have declared that Chris Jones must be traded.
As a personal fan of crazy off-the-wall ideas, I am more than willing to entertain this seemingly outlandish, franchise-altering move. Now, let’s dive into the rabbit hole and determine whether or not the outcome of this trade would be beneficial or disastrous to a franchise destined for a second consecutive “soft rebuild” in 2023.
The two biggest positives the Chiefs could gain from this trade would include the increase in cap space and the plethora of high draft picks they would get in return. Looking at what teams gave up to acquire guys like Khalil Mack, Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, & Deforest Buckner, we can estimate that it would cost inquiring teams (approximately) two 1st round picks. That is a lot of firepower to move nearly anywhere up in the 2023 NFL draft.
If Veach & Spags have a guy they like near the top of the draft, adding even a top 20 pick could be enough to vault them into a top 10 selection. Diving deeper into the contract situation, a pre-June 1st trade would save them roughly $20 million against the 2023 cap. That is the type of savings that could land you both Yannick Ngakoue and Robert Quinn/Larry Ogunjobi. The Chiefs could really Moneyball this ish and replace CJ in the aggregate.
Another few reasons to trade Jones could include adding younger players around an already young defensive core, possibly striking it big and adding a player better than Jones, and finding a legit leader on the defense that we have been sorely missing since the departure of Tyrann Mathieu. So, to review:
- $20 mil saved against the 2023 cap
- Adding *probably* two 1st round draft picks
- Adding younger players
- Finding a more vocal leader for the defense
Trading Jones would no doubt come with some negatives. Firstly, even if the Chiefs received three 1st round draft picks, the odds of them drafting a player that makes a single pro-bowl are about 39% (given the most recent statistics). Not to mention that their track record of evaluating all-star-level DL talent in the draft is even lower than that (0%). Trading a proven player with this much talent isn’t a great idea.
A lot of fans go by the mantra Bill Belichick coined, stating “let a player go a year before you think you should”, but as we’ve seen in New England, you have to be able to replace that talent with new talent if you want to stay competitive. Secondly, are we sure the front office is capable of adding defensive line players that can impact the game?
Sure Yannick Ngakoue looks like a slam-dunk addition, but how do we know they will even target him? Spags and Veach were smitten with Frank Clark coming out of Seattle for 2 main reasons; he was young and he could collapse the pocket from the DE position.
He didn’t have a bend, he wasn’t extremely athletic, and he only had 2 or 3 reliable pass-rush moves. How do fans know they won’t make the same mistake again? Lastly, how much cap space does KC really need? After cutting Clark, CEH, and possibly MVS, the Chiefs would have nearly $56 million in cap space going into the 2023 off-season. That’s enough to sign 2 or 3 major free agents. Again, to recap:
- Do we trust Veach & Spags to draft A1 DL talent?
- Will the front office target effective defensive linemen?
- KC will have plenty of cap space already, so why create another problem to solve?
To answer the previously stated questions; no, fans cannot trust Veach & Spags’ to evaluate and add all-pro level defensive line talent in the draft; no, fans cannot be sure that the front office will target effective defensive linemen in free agency; exactly, the plethora of cap space we already have (as well as our current draft picks) should be enough to add major players to the team. I think it’s ridiculous that Chiefs fans are pleading on Twitter to get rid of the most dominant player the Chiefs’ defense has seen in over a decade.
If fans do not trust Veach and Spags to draft quality pass rushers and dislike their most recent DE pick in the 2022 draft, why would they advocate getting rid of the only one we have left? I understand that sometimes Chris Jones gives half effort and can be seen jogging after the opposing RB or giving up halfway through a pass rush rep, but sending away one of the best defensive linemen to put on a Chiefs uniform because he can’t single-handedly sack Joe Burrow 5 times a game is beyond insane.
Here’s my philosophy (and yes Veach if you’re looking for help I’m available): keep your great players and hit on draft picks. Everything else will fall into place.