Brett Veach, Boom or Bust? The Debate: Free Agency

 101 replies

Nate and Anthony debate whether Brett Veach is earning his keep as the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs

Welcome back for Part 2 of the big debate as Nate and Tony continue to butt heads over GM Brett Veach. We now look at Veach’s moves in free agency.

Introduction

Nate: Overall, I really like Brett Veach as a general manager. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. I have made it clear many times I don’t love many of the moves that Veach has made over the past two offseasons as General Manager. Still, he does a really good job at finding lower-level talent and building depth on the roster. If you compare the Chiefs overall depth, this roster vs. John Dorsey’s teams, I think Veach has done way better at finding depth talent. Overall, I think this is the best overall 90 man roster that has come into training camp in Chiefs history, and a lot of that is due to Brett Veach being a good GM.

Anthony: I think overall Brett Veach has done a poor job of being a general manager since being promoted to the position for the Chiefs. His drafting has been poor, his contracts questionable, and his trades have been downright bad. He has put together a solid roster for the short term by going on spending sprees both in cap space and draft capital, something that any armchair GM could accomplish without the slightest scouting or negotiating skills, while receiving the ultimate gift in Patrick Mahomes via John Dorsey’s MVP trade in 2017. However while I do foresee immediate success for the team, I also see a team that has thrown the only proven model for building a dynasty out the window; that is by building through the draft.

Embed from Getty Images

Click here to get caught up on Part 1: The Draft

Free Agency

Nate: Compared to the draft, Brett Veach has a much bigger swing when he signs free agents. In his two offseasons with the team, Veach has made four significant signings; Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens, Tyrann Mathieu, and Alex Okafor. 

Starting with Watkins, I still like the signing. Is he paid too much? Absolutely. Watkins is set to make 19 million dollars this season, which is wildly overpriced for him. Still, it really was only a 3 year deal, which is actually a two year deal, once you look at the contract. If he plays well and stays healthy, we can restructure Watkins to stay long-term. If he doesn’t, we can cut him next season, saving 14 million against the cap. With all of our top guys on rookie deals, it made sense to pay big when we had the immediate cap space. I loved the signing last year, and I still do today.

Embed from Getty Images

I don’t have those same sentiments for Anthony Hitchens at all. I really didn’t love the contact then, but I especially hate it now. We tied up 45 million for a guy that never was a full-time player for the Cowboys. Even though there was a 3 year out on his contract, it made zero sense to tie all our faith into him getting better, even though he is limited athletically. Let’s hope Spagnuolo can bring out the best in Hitchens, because the Hitchens’ contract is currently the biggest stain on Veach’s legacy.

Now for my favorite move, Tyrann Mathieu. I love this move so much. Mathieu is exactly what the doctor ordered for this team. He can play every single position in the secondary and his mental toughness and leadership are top-notch. Yes, he is getting paid a ton, but as with Sammy Watkins’ contract, it is really only a 2 year deal, with a potential restructure after the second year. I think his contract is fine, and I seriously credit Veach for getting Mathieu.

The last “major” move was signing Alex Okafor this offseason. While he isn’t necessarily the flashiest signing, I really, really loved this move. He does everything well, and in my opinion is one of the most under-the-radar players in the league. Okafor should make an impact against the run, and his versatility is something the Chiefs tend to crave. Out of the 4 major players that Brett Veach has signed in free agency, Okafor just might be the best overall player by value for the price.

Embed from Getty Images

Anthony: I don’t even feel the need to discuss the players when it comes to Brett Veach’s free agency prowess. Paying more for a free agent than another team is willing to pay does not make you a good GM. To be clear, this has been the case for all of Veach’s high profile moves. Perhaps year one with an unproven quarterback you can make the case that he might have needed to overpay to get an impact player. But as we sat and watched Patrick Mahomes turn in an MVP season we all discussed how Kansas City would be getting the Mahomes Discount from free agents wanting to chase a ring with the best quarterback in the NFL. We’ve seen it before as free agents took discounts to play with Manning and Brady. If the trend continues it will become apparent that agents know his over-aggressive tendency to over-pay to get the player he wants and will use other teams to leverage him into paying what no one else would consider.

In the short term he can get away with that but the moment Patrick Mahomes’ new contract starts hitting the cap hard he’s going to find himself in a very difficult cap situation. As much as people discuss the “outs” in his contracts, they all come with significant dead money associated with them. The 3 year out for Hitchens? $5.6M in dead cap. The 2 year out for Watkins? $7M. The out for Clark and Mathieu? Approximately $5M each. Overpaid free agents, significant dead cap, and a pending record-breaking quarterback contract are the three main ingredients to salary cap problems. And that’s before either Hill or Jones are figured into the equation.

Has Brett Veach found value in Free Agency or has he overpaid to get his man? Stay tuned for Part 3: Trades


101
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
11 Comment threads
90 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
DrufulFire_FG_the_moronKCH1EFSFANLeafCHIEFSandSABRES Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
KCH1EFSFAN

Wow, I am like an endangered species. I think Veach has done a good job.

Draft

Dorsey
2016: Chris Jones, KeiVarae Russell, Parker Ehinger, Eric Murray, Demarcus Robinson, Kevin Hogan, Tyreek Hill, D.J. White, Dadi Nicolas
2017: Pat Mahomes, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Kareem Hunt, Jehu Chesson, Ukeme Eligwe, Leon McQuay III

Veach

2018: Breeland Speaks, Dorian O’Daniel, Armani Watts, Tremon Smith, Reginald McKenzie Jr.
2019: Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill, Khalen Saunders, Rashad Fenton, Darwin Thompson, Nick Allegretti

Free Agency & Trade

Dorsey

2016: Nobody worth mentioning
2017: C.J. Spiller, Darrelle Revis, Bennie Logan, Reggie Ragland (T)

Veach

2018: Jeff Allen, Damien Williams, Chad Henne, Anthony Hitchens, Sammy Watkins, Jordan Lucas (T), Kendall Fuller (T)
2019: Darron Lee, Frank Clark Bashaud Breeland, Alex Okafor, Tyrann Mathieu, Carlos Hyde

I dunno, save Mahomes (Which Veach apparently was heavily involved in) the 2017 draft sucked ass (Hunt’s transgression and release) The 2016 draft had solid picks of Jones, Hill, Robinson, Ehinger & Murray (Both gone) Veach’s 2 drafts are better overall than the last two from Dorsey. In FA/Trade dept it’s not even close. Considering this is only the second year for our young GM I think he has done Yeoman’s work. Especially this year.

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

Good analysis. Cue the Dorsey tribe.

CHIEFSandSABRES

KeiVarae Russell! Yikes I remember that pick!

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed

Shouldn’t CJ Spiller’s name be listed 5 times in 2017 signings?

workingmansdead

Quite possibly his best 5 signings in 2017

CHIEFSandSABRES

If not more!

Leaf
Leaf

comment image

stjoechief

Other than the Hitchens signing I’m fine with what Veach has done in free agency. I look more at what he hasn’t done. Last year there were a plethora of competent safeties available on cheap contracts and he didn’t get one. This year the corner postiion is really thin and again, no moves. With my red and gold glasses on, I can hope that 8 months from now the Hitchens deal looks like money well spent.

Still, and as I said on yesterday’s thread, I would trade Veach and any player on the roster not named Mahomes or Kelce for Chris Ballard.

Tony Sommer

If we had Ballard fans would be pissed at him for not spending enough money. The Colts had $54 million in cap space last year during the season, and currently have $45 million. Better to spend that money on an overpriced player than not spend it at all.

stjoechief

Maybe, but Ballard’s drafts have arguably been better and he has plenty of flexibility for the future.

Tony Sommer

We had awesome drafts for years before Reid, but it didn’t stop people from complaining. If Ballard didn’t inherit Luck there’s no way he’d be viewed as favorably as he is now.

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

Chiefs didn’t have flexibility due to Dorsey. Ballard has looked good at drafting, but I’ll wait and see with contracts and FA before my final opinion.

CHIEFSandSABRES

I do like the way Chris Ballard drafts!

workingmansdead

Veach will overpay for a free agent player coming into his prime vs John Dorsey who overpaid players on the back end of their careers. I know which one I’d choose.

CHIEFSandSABRES

Good point, rec’d

HawaiiFiveOh
HawaiiFiveOh

I agree with Tony on this one. Veach is way overpaying on the free agents just like Dorsey did. This is going to bite us.

Nate Christensen

How. Both the Mathieu and Watkins deals are basically two year deals with potential restructures. And yeah, they have some dead money at end but it is only for one year. Dorsey signed Bowe and Maclin to huge deals, cut them early, and that dead money sat around. For Watkins and Mathieu, money only sits for a year, so we shouldn’t have as much dead money long-term, something Dorsey sucked at

HawaiiFiveOh
HawaiiFiveOh

Except if he does this every year, the money to pay those marquis draft picks is not going to be there because that money is constantly tied up in bringing in free agents. I’m not saying that Mathieu and Watkins won’t be contributors. I think we can all agree that Mathieu in particular was the most important signing of the year. I’m worried that he’s diminishing the team’s strategic agility for future signings when he has overpaid for free agents 2 years in a row. I don’t think we will be getting a Mahomes discount until there’s a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

zulu trader
zulu trader

Refusing Leave Me Alone GIF by South Park  - Find & Share on GIPHY

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

For the clicks, Veach fights!

spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

I’m #TeamTony on this one. Veach has been so aggressive with both overpaying with contracts and draft picks. I hate when fans say well you have to overpay. I don’t think you do. I don’t think 31 other teams were coming close to $19-20mil a year for Watkins. No one else was giving up a first round pick and then some for Frank Clark.

Veach gives up a ton when he likes a guy but gets dick when he trades away top talent from our team.

Nate Christensen

The thing is, that the Mathieu and Watkins deals are essentially 2 yr deals, with high cap hit second to spread out everyone’s highest cap year so he isn’t restricted. And when you have a rookie QB on a rookie deal, why wouldn’t you be aggressive. The eagles were! Rams as well. Bears? They did as well. It is the way to win with rookie deals these days.
“But what about a dynasty”. Wouldn’t you be happy with just one to start? We have time to build a longer roster with Mahomes, but if you sit back and aren’t aggressive, then you are failing your team.

spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

If we don’t lock up Jones & Hill this offseason we will get to pay them more next offseason when Mahomes is also going to become a record breaking contract, or we get to watch Jones & / or Hill walk. Which sends the message FAs from other teams are worth $20mil a year here but not the guys we draft who have played at a top level. We are paying Watkins $19mil this year regardless of the out next year. Next year we pay Clark $22mil next year regardless of the out the year after. Veach is backing himself in a corner and it’s going to cost us some good players. We will see in 3 years how this all plays out, but as of now I am not warm & fuzzy on Veach’s aggressiveness.

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed

I see us locking up Jones before training camp ends, interior pass rushers are hard to find and an important part of Spags D.
Hill will probably play on his current contract this year, then we decide if we want to keep Sammy or Hill next year. Both have red flag baggage with them so I would expect to float a team friendly extension to both and sign who accepts first and trade the other.

spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

I hope so. My biggest complaint on Dorsey is he waited to extend a lot of good players and that cost the team more (he seemed to do this more with defensive players, for whatever reason Dorsey locked up guys on offense quicker). If we get Jones locked up now I would be good with that. Hill in a contract year would be amazing. But that could cost us even more. Michael Thomas is going to get paid this offseason and that will most likely push Hill’s contract numbers up. This whole Hill saga is likely to cost the Chiefs more than they anticipated on Hill (assuming they keep him).

kcfreak725
kcfreak725

My thinking on this is pretty similar to Nate’s. Watkins is definitely overpaid, but when he is healthy and on the field, our offense is that much better. He’s shown game changing ability, especially with everyone on the defense freaking out about Tyreek. Hitchens was not a good signing. At all. Now I’m hoping that with the shift to a 4-3 base, which is what he played in Dallas, will help him and he’ll play better, but I’m not exactly holding my breath. I’m a huge fan of the Mathieu signing. After Berry left/underperformed/was day-to-day, we needed a leader and proven player at safety and we got one. I’m excited to see what he does. The contracts seem iffy, but I do recall Veach setting up contracts that have small signing bonuses and first years, before gradually increasing. Granted, I also know nothing about contracts and I’m sure every other GM does it like this. Outside of the Hitchens signing, I’d say Veach has done well in FA so far.

REMOVE
REMOVE

It’s hard to judge the contracts. I liked signing Watkins, yes it’s a big contract and likely overpaid.. but we had the space and we were rolling with a 1st year starting QB. Why not give him as many weapons as possible? We have seen Watkins have an impact on the field(when he is on the field), so it comes down to could we have saved a few million and got someone else? Eh that’s a hard sell to me.

Hitchens, didn’t like the signing then, still don’t. I would rather have athletic LBs flying around, even in the 3-4. To me the ‘SILB/Thumper’ is outdated and a clear spot to attack. Hitchens isn’t quite athletic enough to really be an impact 3 down LB. With his contract, he is almost stuck on the field too. If we can get something out of Lee, then we could have possibly put out a DoD/Lee tandem in subs.. but having a 10mil LB on the sidelines.. would suck.

I liked the Okafor signing(when some/many don’t), as he has played LB and DE, and that versatility is huge for the switch this year. Can slide him at SAM against run heavy formations, and DE in subs. Those chess piece players are key to having a good defense IMO.. which leads into…

Mathieu, which I’m in ‘wait and see mode’. Early in his career he was a difference maker, and flying all over the field. Someone you could play deep, or in the box, put him against the slot WR or the TE. Injuries may have taken a toll on him, I know there were a lot of people saying he has regressed and will never come close to playing at his contract level. If he can get back to his earlier years he is a great fit for the defense and someone we really need(missuBerry).

Druful
Druful

I’d agree on Watkins, even if we’ll be lucky to pay him less that $250,000 per reception this year; it was worth it to load up on the offensive for Mahomes’ first year starting. Last years defensive signings were an abject failure by any measure.

Nate Christensen

What free agents took significant discounts to play with Manning? Brady? And how old were they at the time? The idea that players take discounts considering the fact that the players they got were in their prime is ludicrous.

Tony Sommer

DeMarcus Ware took a discount to play with the Broncos.

Compare the his contract with the one Dee Ford just signed. Ware’s cap hit was 7.3%, 6.0%, and 5.2% of the cap in his 3 years. In Ford’s first 2 years he will be at 7.8% and 8.1%.

I compare him to Ford since Ware at the end of his career is more comparable to Ford than somebody like Frank Clark, who will be 11.4% of the cap this year.

Veach does seem to have a problem of falling in love with a guy and doing everything he can to sign him. As Anthony said, with Mahomes we should be more willing to let players go if we can’t get a good deal. Especially on offense where Mahomes can make players look better than they are and help them get paid more later (ask Albert Wilson about that).

Nate Christensen

Ware was like 35 when he took that discount though. I hate when fans want good players, but ads aren’t willing to pay them. If you want to sign players to discounts, you have to gamble on age and injury.
And the thing is, I have made this clear in my reviews, but Dee Ford absolutely didn’t fit this scheme, and had huge injury problems every year. Ford would be asked to play closer to the tackle instead of a wide technique, and he is bad at that. I am not confident he would come anywhere close to his 2018 season. If you want to argue contracts, go ahead, but given our scheme, Clark is the significantly better player

Tony Sommer

Ware was 32. His prime was much, much better than Ford’s, but by that age he was more comparable as a player.

I can’t speak for others, but I’d be more than happy passing on big names and even letting ours walk and filling the roster with decent but not spectacular players.

Agree o Ford specifically, I’m just using him as an example to put what Ware took with Denver into context.

MidKan Chiefs Lifer
MidKan Chiefs Lifer

Ford may not fit this scheme, but the 49ers run a similar scheme and they think he fits theirs. I’d be willing to bet my left testicle they know a damn sight more than you do about everything Ford and Football. In my opinion that is a weak ass argument.

Now I dont think we should have kept Ford, but that is because he is not a good edge setter and he has a little bit of an injury history. No need to watch another day to day contract go out the window.

Nate Christensen

Yes they play a 4-3 scheme but both defensive ends play a wider technique, especially Ford, who plays the LEO position, which is pretty much a 9 Tech position. So yes, Ford will play well this season, but again, this is a similar scheme, but way different responsibilities. Spags asks his defensive ends to do a lot more than most teams, and Ford doesn’t fir the mold at all

Stuckinpackland
Stuckinpackland

Yikes tony…

zulu trader
zulu trader

Yell Bugs Bunny GIF by Looney Tunes - Find & Share on GIPHY