Should the Chiefs Trade Chris Jones?

 198 replies

As you can imagine from somebody who’s two main attributes are “nerdy” and “introverted”, I read a lot of books. Yet out of the of all books I’ve read, Marketing Outrageously by Jon Spoelstra might be my favorite.

In his book Spoelstra argues that the best way to run a business is by being outrageous. If the first reaction to an idea isn’t laughter it’s probably not a very good idea. This is basically my life philosophy.

So when somebody suggested writing an article on trading Chris Jones I was all over it. That’s just the kind of crazy idea I love. Jones is one of the top players at his position in the NFL, why on Earth would you consider trading him?

Let’s see if I can convince you.

1. Buy low, sell high.

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Everybody’s familiar with this saying. And it’s not even really a saying if you think about it. It’s just common sense.

You make money if you sell something for more than you bought it for.

Yet as simple as this seems on the surface, in practice it’s extremely difficult. When an asset is at it’s low value that’s when you want to sell it the most, and when an asset is at it’s highest value that’s when you don’t want to let it go.

If we want to live by this principle, it clearly says to “sell high” on Chris Jones.

Jones had already established himself as a quality player in 2017, but in 2018 he took his performance to a whole new level. He had almost twice as many sacks in 2018 as he did in his previous two seasons combined.

But with that success comes the realization that it may be the best season he ever has. That combined with his young age and one year left on his rookie contract, means his value right now is likely higher than it will ever be again.

2. Value above all.

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What do you see when you look at a football player? Do you see a guy who is a good athlete? Or perhaps you see a human being whose chosen profession happens to be running around in tights with a bunch of other sweaty men playing with a ball.

Neither of those is what I see. When I look at players I look from a general manager’s point of view, which means I only care about two things.

  1. How many extra wins are you giving me over a guy off the street?
  2. How much of my cap space are you taking up.

In other words, what’s their value? And not just their value on the field, but their value on the field relative to their pay.

Think of a guy like Mahomes, who at the current moment has by far the most valuable contract in the NFL. He is likely worth 8-10 wins over a guy off the street (think an AAF QB), yet will take only 2.4% of our cap.

Going back to Marketing Outrageously, Spoelstra makes an interesting point that should be obvious, but most people don’t consider. When thinking about a player’s value, people (including GM’s) often think about what they average is. What’s a typical contract for a guy of Jones’ talents?

But teams shouldn’t think in terms of average, they should be thinking in terms of championships. What can we afford to pay guys like Jones if we want to win 12 games (a typical number for a Super Bowl team)?

It sure as heck isn’t going to be his market rate.

Now that we have Mahomes, we are an extremely attractive team for players to come to. What offensive player wouldn’t want to play with a QB like that? What defensive player wouldn’t want to know that all they had to do was keep the other team under 28 points?

Some, if not most, will take the money. But some will prefer to win even if it means taking slightly less, and Kansas City will be at the top of their list.

If Jones wants his pay day, then no hard feelings, it is a business after all. But by far the easiest way to get those championship-value contracts is through the draft. By trading Jones we will be trading a non-championship-value contract for high probability championship-value contracts.

3. Big contracts are risky.

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 In 2012 Adrian Peterson had one of the best seasons by a running back in NFL history. He had over 2,000 yards rushing and won the MVP award (the last time a non-QB won it). And at 27 he still had plenty of good years ahead of him. It would have been ridiculous for the Vikings to trade him at that point.

Or would it?

With benefit of hindsight we can see they were probably better off trading him. While he had good seasons in 2013 and 2015, he missed the 2014 season due to his child abuse scandal, and missed most of the 2016 season with a torn meniscus.

While those two seasons were nice, wouldn’t you rather have had the draft picks and cap space?

Or an example closer to home. After the 2016 season Eric Berry was considered one of the top safeties in the NFL, having made the AP 1st team All Pro team 3 of the previous 4 seasons. The one he didn’t get it? The season he was diagnosed with cancer, which he bravely fought back from.

Truly a guy richly deserving the big contract he got after that season.

But what have we gotten from that contract? In 2 seasons he’s played in 4 games, which includes a playoff game that he didn’t perform particularly well in.

The reality of big contracts is that you now absolutely must have that player on the field. If a guy making $3 million goes down you don’t miss much, but if a guy making $15 million goes down that’s a lot of your cap space not on the field winning games for you.

Instead of having one fantastic player, using that money to have several slightly above average players dramatically reduces the risk. If one or two of those guys goes down you have less value sitting on the bench.

4. Only one guy is irreplaceable.

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His name is Mahomes.

Sure, it’s nice to have a guy like Chris Jones, but if he got abducted by aliens tomorrow our Vegas win total likely wouldn’t change at all.

The reality of the NFL is that outside the quarterback and head coach, no one person has that big of an impact on the team.

Many people have noted the lack of future Hall of Fame players the Patriots have considering how successful they’ve been in recent years. But in the modern NFL it should be no surprise. Because outside of Tom Brady no one player matters that much, and therefore isn’t too expensive, they can surround him with good but not great players. This means they have few weaknesses.

Conclusion

When looking at the NFL through the lens of “value”, and being willing to accept crazy ideas, it’s clear that teams should be far more willing than they are to trade top players before they get expensive. If you want to win a championship, you have to have a team full of valuable contracts.

Editor’s Note: A Tony “tip o’ the cap” to KC_Sundevil for the concept.

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[…] trading one of those guys isn’t so crazy after […]

kguf
kguf

Love this article and I would say yes, Veach should consider it…if the compensation is high enough. He should consider it for everyone on the roster (except Mahomes of course).

I like to divide the current year salary cap by 53. The result is what an average player should cost. You will always have a few stars that you feel obligated to pay handsomely (again, Mahomes). If you hand out too many big contracts (Houston, Berry, Watkins, Fisher, Kelce and tagging Ford) the result is you surround these star players with a bunch of draft picks or scrubs.

A dozen 4-8M dollar players is more valuable to a 4 players who average 18M. Its a 53 man roster and we probably need 20-25 quality players to stay competitive, not 8 stars.

Berserker

Can we get enough to replace his production on the field?

“Several above average players…” Nope, that’s the wrong answer, because only one of those above average players can play in Jones’ spot on any particular play. So Jones’ spot would be severely downgraded. Can we afford for that to happen?

Now if you’re talking about replacing, say, Sorensen and Ragland and Hitchens and Murray with above average players (to try and compensate for downgrading Jones to an above average player…), well. There’s better and easier ways to improve on those guys than trading a top-3 Dlineman.

Cheat Code
Cheat Code

No they shouldn’t.

But if they do, then it should be a haul comparable to the Mack trade. Two firsts and a third from a team drafting in the top half.

ChiefJerky
ChiefJerky

No.

Now to read the article…

Tyrone
Tyrone

I’m not going to read all of the comments, but I assume you’re copping a bit of heat for even suggesting this. 95% of fans would probably flip their shit at the thought of trading Jones right now.

This sentence best sums up the reasoning behind potentially trading him:

Instead of having one fantastic player, using that money to have several slightly above average players dramatically reduces the risk.

I’m torn here. I really want to have Jones around long term (who wouldn’t?), but I know these scenarios rarely turn out well.

Tyrone
Tyrone

No one should be able to outright dismiss the idea of trading Chris Jones if they have ever complained about either of the Houston or Berry contracts.

workingmansdead

Agreed.

Anthony Stratton

This right here is the comment of the thread. Nailed it.

Tyrone
Tyrone

comment image

Stuckinpackland
Stuckinpackland

WTF is wrong with you!?!??!?!?!?!?

Now to read

ForeverRanger91
ForeverRanger91

No, no, no and fuck no

4thQtrMagic
4thQtrMagic

Trade CJ….Hell to the NO!
comment image?cid=3640f6095c6c799969776f4c675fc94b

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

F*** you wustl!

Spoiler
Just kidding. 😉

I generally group players into 3 contract stages: rookie, 2nd, 3rd. Obviously the most valuable is the rookie contract guys, but you can only have so much of them.

I would prefer to assemble my roster with an even mix of all categories, but at different levels of talent/payroll bracketing.
2nd contracts are the big money for most guys. I’m cool with getting lots of mid-talent starters from this group for $3-5M.
3rd contracts are hopefully for impact veterans looking to take a little less to compete for a SB.

Your big $$$ 2nd contract guys can only come from a couple of positions: QB, WR/TE, DT, DB.
In order, the other guys have to be:
1) mid-level 2nd contract
2) cheap rookies
3) discount impact vets

So I would invest in CJ.

Maw423
Maw423

I like this philosophy. Well thought out.

tsv0728
tsv0728

No outside pass rush?

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

Meh, interior pass rush is more valuable in my opinion. You can get good production from a guy for $8-10M or less if your interior is good. Mack, Von, and Watt are all freaks but I’d still take Donald or CJ.

Maw423
Maw423

I agree with that. Interior is the shortest and most direct path to the QB, negating the option of stepping up and away from the outside rush as well.

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

Even the best of QBs are in for a miserable day if they can’t step up in the pocket.

Lars
Lars

Chris Jones, no. Houston, Berry and everyone else of Defense…Hell yes

kcmasterpiece
kcmasterpiece

I absolutely love this theory! Maybe not with Jones but now that we have Mahomes it opens up a ton on the contract side of things. . You would think other players would be open for taking less to win more! Why not right?? We have MVPAT!!! Moving on..
Start with Ford, let him walk! Unless you think you can sign and trade, get the comp pick, and build for the future.
We’re stuck with Berry 2 years before we can let him go anything before that its too much in dead cap. Give the guy another year to see if he can turn back the clock into 90% of the player he used to be, but if not you gotta understand cancer is destructive! No matter what is was gonna have some type of effect on the body.
Houston on the other hand is on rent for one year unless we can reconstruct a 3yr 36M 30 guaranteed type of deal. Which I really hope happens because he looks like he’s finally getting healthy as you can tell on the field. Injuries bit this man hard but I can honestly say I always see him busting ass!! Worth the keep in my eyes.
If not eventually you gotta take the toys out the box!! With the likes of KPASS and SPEAKS we drafted for the future and for a reason. I questioned the draft picks at the time considering we was a 3-4 defense getting a very slow edge player (SPEAKS). This was all in place for a while and now we all get to see how these moves go in this game of chess on the NFL stage!! I for one am excited to see how KPASS does with the scheme change. This was always gonna be a high risk, high reward, or bust. Like Ford he might need a lil time.. Go Chiefs!!

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

I would:
1) Franchise Ford this year, let him walk next – collect comp pick
2) Let Bailey, Nelson, and Harris walk – collect comp picks
3) Trade Houston, he and Ford basically play the same position for Spags – collect draft picks
4) Cut Sorensen
5) Keep EB, I think he gets healthy and plays well into this mid 30s
6) Trade Watkins after next season – collect draft picks

Maw423
Maw423

Great hypothetical for discussion. I’m amazed at how many absolutely no’s there are, given the amount of angst towards the Berry and Houston contracts.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

It was the same when Hali’s name came up in his prime…also for Larry Johnson.

Maw423
Maw423

I’m not actively pulling to trade Jones, I’d love for him to remain a Chief, but it all depends on what he’s asking for and what others are willing to give for him. He’s an awesome talent and locker room presence, but that isn’t necessarily worth hamstringing the team for with another massive contract. If there’s a way, great! If not, its a team sport and the whole has to be better than just 2-3 players.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

My point precisely.

Druful
Druful

A lot of the angst is because they got badly injured after signing the contracts. If both had remained even mostly healthy and played at the level they are capable of, they might still be somewhat overpriced but the team would still have gotten some value for the money.

Everyone’s going to get injured, the majority aren’t going to miss two or three seasons worth of games to injury though.

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

Those injuries were such flukes too. Houston got leg-whiped by Ron Parker, then his ACL stopped working? Berry has had cancer, ACL, Achilles, and another heel complication. So strange for both to happen to the same team within the same time frame.

Chiefsfan115
Chiefsfan115

Yes, trade Chris Jones.

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

Trade Hill! Trade Mahomes! Who needs talent? Just think of all the draft picks we could get! Maybe even four first rounders for Mahomes!

Maw423
Maw423

You put alot of effort into ignoring every bit of a “stupid and pointless” conversation that isn’t specifically your own input.

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

It’s the offseason. You have a better idea of what we can all do on a football forum I assume? Debating ideas (even dumb ones) is off the table? And what exactly am I “ignoring”?

Maw423
Maw423

You could try not coming off as demeaning and condescending in most of your comments….

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

Not exactly sure how I am coming off as demeaning and condescending just because I vehemently disagree with this idea? I have a strong opinion on needing and keeping talent to reach a Superbowl…particularly that of the elite variety in positions where it is hard to find. Not sure what would be offensive or condescending about that? We have not had a lot of success at finding big men. People might want to go research all of the DTs we have taken over the years. You’re going to see names like Glenn Dorsey, KPass (who could still turn it around), Junior Siavaii, Ryan Sims, etc., etc. Not exactly anything great since the 90’s.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

Great write-up, man. I wrote one like this years ago at AP with the topic being Tamba. It was about the same point in his career (I think just after he got his big deal, can’t remember for sure) and I got a very similar, triggered response from a lot of people. It’s amazing how people aren’t even willing to discuss, they just want to call you stupid and move on. I would honestly like to know a potential return for the player before I consider any such trade.

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

I’ve not called anyone stupid. Most people here are very knowledgeable including yourself. I respect that. I called the idea a stupid one. But I have no problem with people bringing up ideas…even very bad ones. It’s the offseason and we’re all bored.

Knightwolfbr

The #Chiefs are expected to franchise tag Dee Ford, keeping a talented rusher in the building, as they work through acquisition scenarios for their new 4-3 defense. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/O3uRr69hTQ

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 19, 2019

Knightwolfbr

This still comes out as just text to me. Am I embedding it wrong? I am just pasting the code into the comment field.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

Just copy the link to the tweet and paste it, don’t embed like at the other place.

Knightwolfbr

Let me test this out

Knightwolfbr

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

Bingo.

comment image

Knightwolfbr

Yeah nice. I was told I was commenting too fast though so there was a huge delay. This is going to be interesting come training camp time.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

LOL, right?

tsv0728
tsv0728

Might have to get you admin level privilege during camp. I doubt they are subject to the comment timer.

Knightwolfbr

We got awhile to figure it out. Is this a WordPress platform thing or coded into this site?

KC Dude (A.K.A Zif)

My guess is WordPress thing. I got the slow down deal a few days back.

Anthony Stratton

WordPress was never meant for live discussion…we’ve basically dropped a twin turbo V-12 into 1988 Dodge Caravan. Sure, its fast…but you reach a certain point where even 1200 HP can’t push a box through the air any faster.

Damn coefficient of drag.

Anthony Stratton

Yup, we all are.

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

Technology just has no respect for authoritah.

Anthony Stratton

I mean, we can change it…and we have…but after a lot of testing its in the happy medium with being able to keep up with getting slammed with huge fast paced threads and having a somewhat reasonable refresh rate.

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

We need to ramp this sucker up so the interwebs can be saturated with my shenanigans and general tom-foolery.

Anthony Stratton

Thats was Redtube is for.

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

Is that a new Chiefs video site? I’ll check it out.

comment image

Anthony Stratton

Ahhhh….this reminds me of that time I made Severn google “pegging” at work…

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

Note to self: Do not google “pegging”…

slackator
slackator

no

probablyamistake
probablyamistake

Absolutely not!!! Dee Ford on the other hand….

Team Player
Team Player

Wow. From here on out I’m going to have gersidi-type downvote counts.

In principle I’d prefer to have 11 above average defenders than 2-3 elite ones and 8 below average ones. That was the the basis of the hypothetical

Offense is a different story. On offense you need stars.

Do I love CJ? Yes.
Do I love EB? Yes, which makes his saga more painful
Do I love DT? Of course.

But I love Super Bowl trophies more.

vvet818
vvet818

not from me.

Anthony Stratton

The oddity is that you never suggested we “should” trade jones, just suggested its a good topic. And the article never says we should, but rather gives reasons why you would…if you did.

Team Player
Team Player

True. But I predict people will see it as me advocating for it. I’m truly on the fence. Like others have said, it depends on what we get in return. But I don’t think anyone should be untouchable other than PM15

Anthony Stratton

I doubt you have anything to worry about…those downvotes were well earned not for anything particular, but for a lot of pointless trouble he caused in several threads trying to paint AG as unfair for not allowing him to post obviously inappropriate images. But if you’d like I can remove the h/t. I didn’t think about it possibly being a negative.

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

I can remove _

Triggered. Insta-flagged.

Anthony Stratton

lol….

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

The 2 aren’t mutually exclusive. The Patriots have had many elite defenders along with good to great ones.

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

We get Mahomes and now people think we’re 10 foot tall and bulletproof. lol