It’s safe to say that the Chiefs haven’t lived up to expectations this year.
Kansas City has stumbled to a 3-4 record out of the gate and are facing a critical “Monday Night Football” game against the Giants. The reigning AFC Champions need to earn a win and get back to .500 to keep pace in what’s turning out to be a competitive AFC West.
It’s also an important game for them because it’s the last one before the 2021 NFL trade deadline. That is coming on Nov. 2, so the Chiefs will need to decide soon whether they believe they can be contenders in 2021. If so, then they may want to make some moves.
The Chiefs still have plenty of star power with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but they are certainly missing some pieces. Luckily enough for them, some of their biggest needs may be available to fill on the trade market.
The NFL trade deadline isn’t always active, but if the Chiefs see some valuable pieces available, they may pounce to improve their chances of making another deep postseason push.
Which players could the Chiefs target before the 2021 NFL postseason? Before explaining that, it’s important to take a look at the biggest needs the team still has to fill.
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Chiefs trade deadline needs
The Chiefs could use a handful of upgrades on their team, but these positions stick out as the ones that are in most dire straits.
Potential Chiefs trade targets
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears
The Bears are getting virtually no use out of Robinson because of how bad their quarterback play has been. In fact, after the Bears’ blowout loss to the Bucs, Robinson explained that he and Justin Fields don’t have chemistry.
“That’s something that we’re continuing to build on, again, continuing to get reps in practice,” Robinson said, per Pro Football Talk . “There weren’t many snaps that we took in training camp. A lot of these things, we’re just trying to build on.”
That said, Robinson will be a 28-year-old free agent after this season. The Bears used the franchise tag on him last year, so it may be hard for them to do it again. Maybe Robinson will want to return to Chicago, but after all the poor quarterback play he has endured there and in Jacksonville — including Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields — he may finally want to play for a high-end quarterback.
That’s why the Chiefs could try to get Robinson now. They need a target across from Tyreek Hill and Robinson at6-2, 220 pounds is a nice foil for the smaller, speedier Hill. Robinson would give Mahomes a true jump-ball weapon that also has some explosiveness.
If the Bears do look to trade Robinson ahead of what’s likely to be an organizational reset, the Chiefs should be in on him.
Marvin Jones, WR, Jaguars
The Jaguars are a mess right now, and the Urban Meyer experiment appears to be a massive failure — even despite their win in London. If the team continues to lose, the team may try to sell off some of its few veteran pieces to give it some extra assets with which to build around Trevor Lawrence.
Jones would probably represent one of their best assets. He’s 31, but he has been one of NFL’s steadiest receivers when healthy over the last nine years. He averaged 67 catches for 962 yards and eight TDs per 16 games from 2015 through 2020.
Jones is already a solid No. 2 receiver but pairing him with Mahomes would raise his ceiling. Plus, he’s 6-2 and is a solid red-zone playmaker. As such, he would compliment Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill nicely.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans
Brandin Cooks has already been traded three times in his NFL career. He probably wouldn’t mind being traded a fourth time if it meant he got to play with Mahomes.
It also appears that he wasn’t happy with Houston’s decision to offload Mark Ingram in a trade with the Saints. He released a profane tweet that also said “such a joke” in it.
So, maybe Cooks will want to move on now as well.
Despite his frequent moves, Cooks has been a productive receiver during his time in the NFL. He has five 1,000-yard receiving seasons under his belt and is on pace for a sixth in 2021. He is one of just two players in NFL history to record 1,000-plus receiving yards with four different teams. The other is Brandon Marshall.
Cooks has the speed that the Chiefs look for in their receivers. Can you imagine him working in tandem with Hill as downfield threats? Defenses would not like trying to stop those two in addition to Kelce.
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Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets
Field-stretchers aren’t the only types of playmakers the Chiefs could target. Jamison Crowder is only 5-9 but he has been a solid slot receiver during his career. He has recorded six TDs in each of the last two seasons and has averaged 68.5 catches and 766 receiving yards in 28 games played during that span.
Crowder returned for the Jets in Week 4 and promptly caught seven passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes doesn’t like to check down, but if Crowder can get open frequently in the intermediate part of the field, he could be a nice fit in Kansas City.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Mack has asked to be traded away from the Colts. The Chiefs are among the teams that are reportedly interested in Mack, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler . Perhaps Mack could form a nice 1-2 punch with Edwards-Helaire when the former first-round pick returns to action.
Mack ran for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, but he missed most of the 2020 season with a torn Achilles. He has returned healthy this year but is buried on the Colts’ depth chart behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Mack is 6-0, 210 pounds and is still just 25 years old.
If Mack can stay healthy, he could provide a nice boost to Kansas City’s so-so running game. Either way, he’s provide the team with a slightly bigger option at the position.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Dolphins
Gaskin is the Dolphins’ lead back, so they may not want to trade him. On the other hand, they are well out of the playoff race right now and could just look to accelerate their rebuild.
Gaskin is averaging 4.5 yards per carry behind a below average Dolphins line. He could do much better in Kansas City behind their stout blocking. It shouldn’t take much to get Gaskin, especially since Miami uses him in a committee and his usage rate fluctuates.
In one game this year, Gaskin played just 12 snaps without being injured. That probably wouldn’t happen in Kansas City.
Melvin Ingram, EDGE, Steelers
The fit here may look a bit clunky, as Gordon has tended to play more as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme during his career. The Chiefs run a 4-3. That said, the team has already made an offer for Ingram, per Aditi Kinkhabwala, so they must believe Ingram is a good fit for their front.
Ingram wants a trade away from the Steelers as his playing time has dwindled due to the emergence of Alex Highsmith. He may welcome a move to a contender, so perhaps he’d be willing to play in this scheme. He would certainly give the Chiefs a proven pass rusher, which they badly need in addition to Chris Jones and Frank Clark.
Derek Barnett, DE, Eagles
Barnett hasn’t fit as well into the new EAgles’ defensive scheme as he has in the old one. Through seven games, he had logged zero sacks. Philadelphia may need to rethink how they’re using him, so he could be on the move.
If he is, the Chiefs may pounce to try to get the 2017 first-round pick. He has 19.5 sacks in his career and would fit well into the Chiefs’ system. He could serve as a long-time piece on that defensive line and if he and Clark work well together, Jones could kick back to his old defensive tackle position to shore up the middle of the defense.
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Tim Settle, DT, Washington
Here’s an under-the-radar candidate. There aren’t a lot of obvious defensive tackle trade candidates out there, but Washington has a glut of them. Settle is due for a new contract next offseason, but Washington may not be able to pay him with a deal for Daron Payne coming due.
Settle has just five tackles this year, but he has played sparingly as a backup. Last year, he racked up 19 tackles and five sacks for Washington. He’s a good pass rusher but also has a big 308-pound frame. He could thrive in a bigger role, so maybe the Chiefs will gamble on that possibility.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Broncos
This trade almost certainly won’t happen since it’s an interdivisional one. But if the Chiefs were to target any cornerback on the open market, Kyle Fuller would probably be their best opiton.
Fuller has been a solid starter on the outside for years. The Broncos just have four very good corners that they want to give playing time to. That includes Fuller, but he has been the odd man out at times.
In Kansas City, Fuller would serve as a true No. 1 corner. The Chiefs also had Kendall Fuller, Kyle’s brother, on the team for a couple of years after getting him in the Alex Smith trade. So, they could have an interest if they learned anything from Kendall while he was in Kansas City.
But again, this trade probably won’t happen. The Broncos won’t want to do much to help one of their rivals.
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