To those who don’t follow Kansas City Chiefs Twitter closely, the question might elicit laughter. Trade one of the best playmaking cover corners in football? A 25-year-old on a rookie contract at that?
But the idea percolated during the season when the Chiefs’ passing defense fell apart, Marcus Peters was suspended by the team for throwing an official’s flag, and some vocal Kansas City fans argued the culture of the locker room would be better off without the talented corner.
It’s worth remembering Peters has a history of costly outbursts going back to his days in college at Washington, where he was kicked off the team.
The Chiefs traded Alex Smith for Kendall Fuller and signed David Amerson. Mike Florio posted a trial balloon piece in Pro Football Talk suggesting Andy Reid could be poised to make a deal to move Peters by reinforcing the cornerback ranks ahead of such an attempt.
Here’s the problem with all of the above: Marcus Peters may just be the best ball-hawking corner in the league. He’s 25, on a rookie contract, and the best player on a defense without much talent.
Guys like that don’t get moved.
Let’s say, for sake of argument, the Chiefs were interested in moving him. What would a team be willing to pay? One would have to assume Kansas City could get at least the first-round pick the Saints received for Brandin Cooks.
Peters is younger and plays a harder-to-find position.
Perhaps the Chiefs — by going from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes — lost ground. This defense, which clearly struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs, needs a major overhaul, and getting picks back for a troubled player (assuming one believes that to be the case, which I don’t) could be the biggest step toward a rebuild on the fly.
What if the Browns, with the man who picked Peters now running the show, called and said, “We’ll give you No. 4 overall for Peters.”
Is that enough?
There’s no modern precedent for such a move.
But who is the payout there? Minkah Fitzpatrick, a player who, if the Chiefs are lucky, is 85 percent as productive as Peters already proved he can be in the NFL?
Picking in the top five, teams hope against hope to take a player who ends up being as good as Peters. Why trade him for an unknown quantity who almost certainly won’t be as good?
No. 4 and one of the Browns’ seconds.
This would be an earth-shattering offer, breaking any precedent or history for a cornerback. That’s probably what it would take for the Chiefs to even consider such a deal, and it seems outside the realm of possibility the Browns would offer it.
The value of a player is only what a team could reasonably command for him. Value has some esoteric qualities, but it’s mostly quantifiable.
If no one is willing to give the Chiefs what they believe he’s worth, is he really worth that?
More to the point, if no one is willing to give them what they believe he’s worth, that’s all they should need to know about whether they should trade him.
There’s almost no reasonable scenario in which a team offers fair value, because if Kansas City really is trading him, it’s because he’s a distressed asset.
We don’t have any evidence that suggests the Chiefs actually believe that, which is why it doesn’t make any sense to trade him.
Trading a guy to prove a point didn’t go well for the Dolphins when they dealt Jay Ajayi to prove a point about culture. Ditto for the Patriots and Chandler Jones.
Dealing Peters would essentially wave the white flag on this season and admit the team is further away from contending than it appeared it might be last season.
In a wide-open AFC, the Chiefs should believe they can compete right now, even with a first-time starter at quarterback. They should be trying to add big-time pieces, not sell them off.