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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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