"You must play boldly to win." A lot of NFL teams have taken golf legend Arnold Palmer's quote to heart, especially when it comes to the NFL's trade deadline. Once an afterthought, the trade deadline has become one of the most anticipated dates on the NFL calendar. Several teams have already played their bold shot, with the 49ers trading for former All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, the Eagles acquiring pass rusher Robert Quinn, and the Jets trading for former Jaguars 1,000-yard back James Robinson.
The Chiefs also took out their driver before the deadline, acquiring former Giants receiver Kadarius Toney for two picks in the 2023 draft. Toney, the 20th overall pick in 2021, will join a Kansas City offense that is already tops in the league in scoring and top five in numerous other categories.
After a slow start last year, Andy Reid's team is off to a 5-2 start that includes a 2-0 record against AFC West foes. Kansas City emphatically responded to its four-point loss to Buffalo in Week 6 by routing the 49ers last Sunday in McCaffrey's debut. Sunday's bounce-back win reinforced the narrative of a two-team race between the Chiefs and Bills for the AFC's home-field advantage.
The Chiefs can advance past the Bills as the AFC front-runner if they are able to pull off a big trade by the deadline. Here are four deals the Chiefs should consider making between now and Nov. 1.
Trade for Cameron Jordan
Kansas City's defense could use a boost before the deadline. The unit is 25th in the NFL in points allowed after allowing at least 20 points in each of its first seven games. While their ability to force turnovers has helped mask their deficiencies, the Chiefs need more weapons in their arsenal if they're going to hold off the Bills and the NFL's other top offenses during the second half of the year.
An improved pass rush is among the things the Chiefs defense could use. There's no way the Broncos would trade Bradley Chubb to a division rival, and the Panthers have already ruled out parting with Brian Burns before the deadline. So that takes us to Jordan, who is still playing at a high level in his 12th NFL season. The 33-year-old defensive end has 4.5 sacks this season for the Saints, who despite Jordan's play is off to a disappointing 2-5 start.
Third- and fifth-round picks seem like fair compensation for Jordan, but the Saints may get greedy and demand a second-round pick. Either way, the Chiefs have the resources to get a deal done, as Kansas City has 11 picks in the upcoming draft.
Acquire William Jackson III
Pass defense is another area where the Chiefs need to improve in. The Chiefs are currently 30th in the league in passing yards allowed and last in the NFL in touchdown passes allowed. Rest assured that, unless things improve dramatically during the second half of the season, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and the AFC's other elite quarterbacks will certainly look to exploit the Chiefs' spongy secondary during the postseason.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, it doesn't appear that they will be able to acquire an elite defensive back at the deadline. They could, however, possibly add a solid veteran to the mix that could provide a much-needed spark. One of those defensive backs is Jackson, a former first-round pick who has been at the center of trade rumors. Jackson, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday, appears destined to be on another team soon as he has not suited up for the Commanders since Week 5.
If nothing else, Jackson can provide depth and veteran experience to the back end of the Chiefs defense. The six-year veteran has 64 career starts under his belt, with 51 passes defended to boot. The Chiefs could probably get Jackson at an affordable rate, given the fact that the Commanders don't have much leverage in this situation. A fifth-round pick seems doable, or a fourth-round pick in exchange for Jackson and a future sixth-round pick for Kansas City.
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Make push for Jack Conklin
This would be a tough trade to swing, as Conklin is a two-time All-Pro who at 28 is very much in his prime. But with the Browns looking at a 2-5 record, and with Conklin set to be a free agent next year, Cleveland may decide to cut its losses now while elevating second-year tackle James Hudson III into the starting lineup.
The Chiefs would surely have to give up (at least) a second-round pick to acquire Conklin, who for the past several years has helped Nick Chubb become one of the NFL's most productive running backs. The Chiefs' starting tackles have left something to be desired through seven games, especially in pass protection. The addition of Conklin would strengthen the Chiefs' protection of Patrick Mahomes. It would also help accomplish Reid's goal of wanting to have a more balanced offense while leaning more on the running game.
Add David Montgomery to RB room
Led by Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs running game has been solid through seven games. But solid may not be good enough, especially in the playoffs, when the ability to run and possess the ball can make all the difference.
Montgomery would bring an added dimension to the Chiefs offense. He's a powerful, straight ahead runner who would be a perfect complement to Edwards-Helaire and rookie Isiah Pacheco. Montgomery's skill set is ideal for playoff football, especially in chilly climates like Kansas City.
The Bears already parted ways with Quinn, so it's certainly possible that they would consider trading Montgomery, who has split time this season with Khalil Herbert. A future third-round pick would likely be the asking price for Montgomery, but the Bears may be wiling to settle for a fourth-round pick as Montgomery is set to be a free agent this offseason.