Brett Veach, Boom or Bust? The Debate: Trades

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

Welcome back for Part 3 of the big debate as Nate and Tony continue to butt heads over GM Brett Veach. We now look at Veach’s history when it comes to trades.

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 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 this roster. If you compare the Chiefs overall depth of this roster compared to John Dorsey’s teams, I think Veach has done way better at finding 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 general manager.

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.

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Need to catch up? We got the links you need!

Part 1: The Draft

Part 2: Free Agency

Trades

Nate: This part may be where Anthony and I disagree the most. Brett Veach makes a lot of trades, and I think he has done a good job of executing them so far.

When John Dorsey was fired, Brett Veach very quickly made two trades, acquiring Reggie Ragland and Cameron Erving. For Ragland, the Chiefs had to give up a 2019 4th round pick to the Bills. I loved this trade back then, but unfortunately, hindsight, the trade doesn’t look as good today. That 4th round pick given up is an eyesore, but I still liked the risk of Ragland, and hopefully, he feels more comfortable in this scheme. Cam Erving cost a fifth round pick, and to me, that trade has had a lot more value. Erving has been a decent starter, who can play multiple positions on the offensive line. 

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Veach also has made lower level moves for Charvarius Ward and Jordan Lucas. We can look back, and both of those moves were home runs. We got Ward for an offensive lineman, Parker Ehringer, who was later cut that season! That is an absolute home run of a trade. Even if Ward never develops into a full time starter, if he is your 4th corner, that is a major win. Then we move to Lucas, who we only gave up a 7th round pick for. Teams hope their 7th round pick turn into a contributor like Jordan Lucas. Is he a star? Absolutely not! The chances for Lucas to be a star are slim to none. Every team needs guys like Lucas and Ward to win Super Bowls, and Veach does an amazing job at finding those guys.

Like Erving and Ragland, Veach also traded for two guys that have been disappointments since coming into the league, Emmanuel Ogbah and Darron Lee. Personally, I love both of these trades tremendously. Ogbah was acquired for a guy, Eric Murray, who probably won’t even make the roster. Ogbah is a really talented player in my opinion. He plays everywhere on the defensive line, from edge to 1 technique, and he is awesome against the run. With Brendan Daly as coach, the potential for Ogbah to boom is very high. Meanwhile, we only traded a 6th round pick for Darron Lee. Lee fits this team very well, and he played well last year (stay tuned for the review!). Like Ragland and Erving, both of these guys were failures on their teams, and Veach decided to take risks on both of these guys, and I expect these guys to be big contributors. Two more great moves for Veach!

Now, Anthony and I have definitely had the most disagreements about the Frank Clark trade. I understand his perspective into the situation, seeing as he would prefer to build through the draft and extend his own guys. Let me provide my perspective. It is pretty simple; Patrick Mahomes is on a rookie contract. He is gonna be very expensive. You have to make this move now. Clark is absolutely worth the contract he received. He can be a number one pass rusher, and has only improved throughout his years in the league. Now, I think Anthony dislikes the contract more, but he didn’t like giving up the picks. In all honestly, I was fine with the picks. Regardless of how the 29 pick actually turns out, Clark is almost guaranteed to be better next season. We are this close to a Super Bowl, we don’t have time to develop a rookie pass rusher necessarily. We did give up a second, but we still have another one next year, and if the Chiefs somehow have a terrible year, we get the pick that is better. We also moved up 8 spots in the third round, which allowed us to get Khalen Saunders. We really only gave up two picks for Clark, and both those picks aren’t super valuable in my opinion. I am super excited for Clark, and I really feel the value we gave up isn’t too bad.

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Now this is something I 100% will agree with anyone about; Veach does awful draft day trades. Not that he gives up too many picks, but just for not good players. Why would he ever trade up for Mecole Hardman or Breeland Speaks. We most likely would have got both of those guys at our pick, but also, there was better value on the board. I think Veach sometimes panics when the draft doesn’t fall the way he expected, and unfortunately trades up for guys that just aren’t valuable.

Finally, we get to the two guys he traded away; Marcus Peters and Dee Ford. I’m not gonna act like I loved those trades; I didn’t. I think we got inadequate value for both of those guys, and traded them for questionable reasons. Still, I think he got some value back for those guys, and I am less mad at the Ford trade. Put simply, Ford doesn’t fit Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, and has major injury concerns. While I still hate the Peters trade, he really wasn’t that good last year, and clearly he was unpopular in the coaching staff, so unfortunately, while I don’t agree with it, I can see their perspective.

Overall, I think Veach does a good job trading. Do I think he trades for top level talent well? Not really. Sometimes, I think he either gets inadequate value for his players, or maybe gives up too much. Still, I think Veach does a FANTASTIC job of getting lower level players, and taking risks on guys, without giving up too much. I love the Ogbah and Lee trades. The Lucas and Ward trade have worked out well. So I don’t think we can call him a bad trader, as many of his moves have succeeded.

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Anthony: I actually agree with a lot of the low profile trades that Veach has made. Ward, Lucas, Ogbah, Ragland, Lee and Erving are the kind of trades where good GM’s make their money. If they contribute its a win; if not its no worse than gambling with a 6th round pick, or whatever the particular compensation may be. Darron Lee is the only LB on this roster to be excited about watching in my opinion, which is great. But its also a trend. How many players on this team that you’re excited to watch did Veach actually draft? Again, it doesn’t take talent to “scout” players who have been in the NFL for 3 or 4 years like Lee and Clark. The stats, grades and film are out there and most of us armchair GM’s have a good feeling for what they are at the NFL level.

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As is always the case its the high profile trades that bother me, as Brett Veach continues to overpay to get the guy he wants while simultaneously getting poor return on investment when trading away Pro-Bowl players (an interesting aside, Frank Clark has never been elected to a Pro Bowl. He was, however a 2019 alternate). To land Frank Clark, Veach had to trade a 1st and 2nd round pick; compare that to the 1st and 3rd round pick traded by John Dorsey to swap picks and acquire Patrick Mahomes and tell me we got good value for Clark (see, I told you we’d be re-visiting that subject). On top of the value of the trade itself, there is also history at stake. The NFL has been littered with trades involving multiple high round draft picks, and none of them have worked out. Think of all the dynasties the NFL has seen: The Patriots, the Cowboys, the Steelers, the 49’ers, the Packers. How many of those teams made such trades? Not a one.

Then there’s the matter of trading away players. Veach has traded, or attempted to trade, three pro-bowl players from the team. Each time he has either publicly announced or leaked that the player was not in the long term plans of the team (Ford) or that they would be cut if a trade partner could not be found (Peters and Houston). Its not a stretch to say that this is the absolute worst negotiating tactic ever thought of. Unless, that is, you are looking for built in excuses. By tipping your hand and taking lower compensation for talented players, you provide justification to the fans that you were right to have traded them.

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The simple fact remains that much like the immediate response to the compensation involved in the Frank Clark trade, fans were by and large not happy with the return we got for those three players. However, those reactions seem to change within 24 hours as people decide to defend the team regardless of what they initially thought. I am of the opinion that people’s gut reactions are typically the correct ones…rather than the reactions after trying to logically force a feeling of acceptance over yourself.

Has Brett Veach found value in trades or has he overpaid to get his man? Stay tuned for Part 4: The Conclussion


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spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

This is one I think both of you guys are right. I love the late round picks for former first round picks that Veach pulls off. I hate his draft day trades. I hate what he takes for players he trades away. I hate the price paid for Clark, let’s move past the contract, that first round pick should have been a starting CB. Find another way to get clark, no one else was giving up a 1st rd pick, he just gave up leverage for no reason.

2018 was the first step in the right direction the Chiefs took since bringing in Reid. Granted that is on Mahomes and even though that was on Dorsey’s watch I still credit Veach more than Dorsey. If we fall short of the AFC championship, how does that change the view of Veach?

I really hope you guys revisit this discussion every offseason. I’d be interested in seeing how this progresses.

Dave

Nobody knew he WASNT giving away a 1 tho either ..

Leaf
Leaf

How many players on this team that you’re excited to watch did Veach actually draft?

This sounds exactly like argument being made after John’s second draft and the big names were Houston, Berry, DJ, and Charles. It wasn’t until peters blew up and kelce was more than a one year wonder that the opinion on Dorsey started to change. That was year three.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic

Anthony: “Frank Clark has never been elected to a Pro Bowl.” Who cares? Chris Jones didn’t make the probowl either. Probowl selection =/= talent. Ray Lewis was in the probowl his last season when he was complete shit. All about that name recognition. “How many players on this team that you’re excited to watch did Veach actually draft?” He’s only had two drafts and one of them has never even seen an NFL snap. ?itemid=13962423 Nate: “Why would he ever trade up for Mecole Hardman or Breeland Speaks. We most likely would have got both of those guys at our pick, but also, there was better value on the board.” This is why these guys make the big bucks. Forgive me if I trust the 1000’s of hours put in by Veach and the scouts more than I do an armchair film guy (no offense intended). I’m not blindly defending them, but the pros have more credibility than the fans. Hard stop. “For Ragland, the Chiefs had to give up a 2019 4th round pick to the Bills. I loved this trade back then, but unfortunately, hindsight, the trade doesn’t look as good today.” Still looks good. Not a good chance you’d find better production out of a 4th round pick. I have not commented on these debates until now. Here’s my take. It’s too damn early to have such a pessimistic view of Veach. His strongest skill is his strategy of acquiring former first round picks with promise with late round throwaway picks. This comes from his ‘pure scout’ background. He’s studied all of these guys before they were even drafted. His weakest attribute is probably getting too tunnel-visioned into one player that he ‘just has to have’ to where he gives up everything and the kitchen sink for. But guess what, that can also be a strength. Tony – you mention that ‘every scout’ wanted either Watson or Mahomes, yet WE’RE the team who wanted him the most, and are now reaping the benefits for the next 10+ years. When a dude is a sure thing at QB,… Read more »

TNCHIEFS
TNCHIEFS

I think it will take another year, maybe two to see the fruit of Veach’s labor and get a fair read on his work. Most of this stuff relates to defense and the Bob Sutton factor was very real, negatively influencing Veach’s work. This year there are a lot of new faces on defense and an entirely new defensive coaching staff sans one, who is in a new position. They’ll need most of a year to gel. Hopefully not that long, but not out of the question. Anthony Hitchens is one I want to see. He excelled in Dallas but had issues in Sutton’s scheme. Still he had 135 tackles leading the NFL for at least part of the season. No. 2 was Reggie Ragland with 86, a huge difference. And I agree Veach’s draft day picks are underwhelming.

As an aside, Veach was a few hours away from landing Earl Thomas. In real life that counts for nothing, but I give him credit on working to make to make it happen.
My favorites picks this year are the new defensive coaches.

HawaiiFiveOh
HawaiiFiveOh

I think this one is a wash. You’re both right. Veach has done a great job with trading for the low risk high reward players, but he’s been just awful at getting value from Pro Bowlers. Pro Bowl defensive players at premium positions like LB and CB should be worth at least a current year 2nd round pick. Period. Anything less than that is not a good value. The only caveat is if you’re trying to clear cap space.

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

Peters due to character concerns still got a 2nd rounder in return. Ford got a second rounder for a free agent LB. I know it has to be this year’s for you but based on cotton don’s post it is only a half round change and the Chiefs will be drafting late in the round so closer to a third pick. I don’t mind the Peters trade based on the options there were. The Ford is ok to me although I wish we got more.

TNCHIEFS
TNCHIEFS

The Rams were the only team to step up for Peters, which is telling. As noted, it gave them good negotiating leverage.

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

Yeah good point.

Berserker
Berserker

Seconded.

Maybe Veach’s habit of getting value on the low end will end up working out well with his habit of zeroing in on specific expensive players. As long as Mahomes is on the team, what the GM really needs to do is just have a small handful of key star players to support him, along with a really solid mid- and low-end roster that has good potential to immediately step up and fill in for lost starters because the salary cap will always be tight, and because every year will be a potential Superbowl year.

Veach just has to get better at choosing the expensive players he decides to zero-in on.

spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

Agree. Veach needs to start hitting some home runs on draft picks as well. Not having a first rd pick 2 years in a row has not helped, but his second round picks were deflating at the time of announcement. Obviously it is too early to tell if they will be worth the pick but certainly at the time I was not thrilled especially with the players on the board still.

cotton_don
cotton_don

Does anyone have an idea how much less valuable a future draft pick is compared to a current draft pick? That is, what would you have traded a 2019 third round pick for the same pick in 2020? Just as a guess I would say at least a half round discount for the future one. After all, foregoing a current pick for the same pick next year means you don’t have the one year of use you would get from a player selected this year compared to the player you get next year.

So, to me, trading this year’s 1st round pick (the 29th, a late one) and next year’s 2nd round pick (bound to be a late one) would be the equivalent of trading the 29th pick and a mid-3rd-round (2019) pick. Using the Jimmy Johnson draft value chart that gives you the equivalent value of the 20th pick in the 2019 draft that we traded for Clark.

In a similar way, we traded a 1st round (the 27th) 2017, a 2017 3rd round pick (the 86th?) and a 2018 1st round (22nd) pick for Mahomes. I would discount that 2018 pick to a mid-2nd-round pick. Using the Jimmy Johnson draft value chart that gives you the equivalent value of the 11th pick of the 2017 draft. So you can see why Buffalo could justify going for that deal – although, of course, in hind sight, Mahomes turned out to be waaayyy more valuable than that.

1wombat
1wombat

He traded older broken down players for good players with lots of tread on the tires. What’s not to like? Shipped Ford also. Smart not paying him for one decent season.

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

I love the low profile trades he made. Lots of potential there and Ragland was solid his first year. I’m not sure what happened to him last year buit there were rumors of an airplane injury affecting him. I thought the Alex for Fuller and a pick trade was a great move also.

Frank Clark is an upgrade over Ford for sure and i like the analysis how it was only two picks. He also is going to be the leader of that D and change the mind set which I like. He has better D line players around him to so his numbers should improve. Dorsey made a trade for an unproven player, Veach did not. He was trading for a stud.

No one wanted to touch Peters in a trade so I think the return was ok. Not sure who would trade for Houston and his contract. The Ford deal is meh for me, but after reviews done by Seth and Nate I can see why move was made. Also Murray and Ehrlinger, great picks by Dorsey there(sarcasm). The Steelers trade Antonio Brown for similar reasons like Peters. Does that mean now they’re a shitty franchise. I appreciate a team trying to create a culture with the right leadership. I think with the new defensive coaches and Clark and Mathieu, we are going to see big positive changes.

I will say his draft day trades have not been good and one of my biggest issues with him. That being said I’m excited to watch DOD, NNandi, Tremon, Thornhill, Sanders, Hardman, and Thompson this year.

I have really enjoyed this series from both POVs and appreciate Tony’s analysis and takes. Although I disagree with some I can see his rationale.

KCChef
KCChef

” How many players on this team that you’re excited to watch did Veach actually draft? ” … Irrelevant … Move to Strike … Please Limit your in put to Veach’s Trades … ( Also if you’re excited by the 6 Trades you mentioned , Then Aren’t you making his point ? )

WizardLizard
WizardLizard

No thoughts on Alex Smith for Kendall Fuller and a 3?

Nate Christensen

Love the trade then, still love it now. I promise, he will be way better in 2019. He is gonna play more zone and less man and bail coverage

WizardLizard
WizardLizard

I thought it was pretty good as well. Doesn’t seem to be mentioned above. Pretty big move for Veach. While expected it basically set up this season and the next several.

HawaiiFiveOh
HawaiiFiveOh

So Alex is moving to his natural position at CB?

workingmansdead

We don’t say that name ’round these parts

BuckeyeMike
BuckeyeMike

Damn that is a solid trade too.

zulu trader
zulu trader

Anthony: I actually agree with a lot of the low profile trades that Veach has made. Ward, Lucas, Ogbah, Ragland, Lee and Erving are the kind of trades where good GM’s make their money. If they contribute its a win; if not its no worse than gambling with a 6th round pick, or whatever the particular compensation may be.

Anthony: Darron Lee is the only LB on this roster to be excited about watching in my opinion, which is great.

Nate: I rest my case

CHIEFSandSABRES

Honestly I am excited about Hitchens. Excited to see if he turns it up, or if he gets sent walking after this season.

zulu trader
zulu trader

Him and Ragland. Both Veatch acquisitions. And both will show up in the new scheme, new d-line/Jones, and the 4-3.

CHIEFSandSABRES

One of the best comments I came across last night during the Twitter storm, was along the lines of this “if it were not for KCTV5 we could have drafted a CB with our first pick.” That being said, I still like the trade for Hardman and think he adds even more to this dynamic offense.

Nate Christensen

If you watch the franchise as well though, you can tell that the Chiefs wanted Murphy or Rock Ya-Sin, and all the guys they had at cornerback were off the board. Regardless, I think Mecole gets picked

Druful
Druful

You know why? Because Brett traded his first round pick for Clark.

spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

If those guys turn out to be the studs everyone thinks they will…oy… people on twitter will never stop bringing it up. By people I mean me. Probably Anthony too.

spiderwomn69
spiderwomn69

I was excited when we traded up…knew it would be WR and saw Paris Campbell there… a bit disappointed at the pick, but we will see how it plays out. Felt like a huge reach (like the year before when we also traded up). I have to wonder if teams are using Veach’s aggressive nature against him. I don’t care what the rumors were, I don’t think anyone ahead of us was planning to take him before our pick.

zulu trader
zulu trader

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HawaiiFiveOh
HawaiiFiveOh

I can’t think of a more appropriate gif than this one for the debate.