We are 72 hours away from the first round of the NFL draft and the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be in full-on smoke screen mode. Leaks about a potential interest in drafting a quarterback in the first round have merged with their desire to add more picks.
One thing that’s going under the radar may be the a potential trade brewing with safety Eric Berry.
In a column about ten years ago (it seems) Sam Mellinger wrote the Chiefs should consider trading Berry before the draft which is now this week. At the time it didn’t make much sense because free agency was over (for the most part) and the cap space that would open up wouldn’t be worth much to the Chiefs in the short-term. It seemed most of us agreed trading Berry probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
We put the idea and moved on. What were the odds of a trade happening anyway? Then this tweet surfaced from Sporting News and National Football Post today, unprompted:
How surprised would you be if the #Chiefs traded Safety Eric Berry on draft day?
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) May 5, 2014
Huh, weird. Okay, so a national guy throws out an idea near the draft to generate discussion. Or maybe he had a passing conversation with a scout who was charged with adding more smoke to the Chiefs’ smoke machine. But then this…
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) May 5, 2014
Okay, now this is interesting. Paylor is a guy who will shoot it straight with you. If there is no chance of something happening then he’ll shoot it down right there. He’s not in the speculation business. And then for him to throw fuel on the fire with the John Dorsey mention of box safeties in this draft and this becomes a bit more serious.
Isn’t it a bit odd Mellinger would seemingly out of nowhere write a column about trading Berry, a national guy randomly tweets about it, and then Paylor not only retweets it but adds some credibility to it?
Now, Mellinger, Paylor, or Galko are not saying a trade will happen. But it is interesting there is still a vibe out there that the Chiefs could be willing to deal Berry on draft day. Maybe the smoke the Chiefs are generating at One Arrowhead Drive is being created to slip a Berry trade under the radar.
We’ve discussed why trading Berry would be a bad idea, so lets focus on why the Chiefs may choose to deal him.
1. Berry’s Maximum Value
Berry may not be any more valuable than he is now. Safeties are all the rage after the way Seattle won the Super Bowl this past February. The combination of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are vital to the way the Seahawks play defense, and their defense is why they won the Super Bowl.
With the inflated value of safeties around the league and Berry coming off of his third Pro Bowl in four years, now may be the time to get max return in a trade.
2. Berry vs. Alex Smith
When it comes to the salary cap, the Chiefs may be looking at the space it is going to take to re-sign Berry compared to the cost of re-signing Smith and asking themselves which player is move valuable to the Chiefs’ future success. Could the Chiefs sign both? Sure, they could make that work. But they put themselves at risk of having a top-heavy salary cap like they do now.
3. Sum Of Added Picks
Let’s say the Chiefs get three picks for Berry, no matter the round. Will the sum of those picks be worth more than Berry? What if they turn those picks into a starting wide receiver, defensive back, and offensive lineman, and use one of their natural picks to replace Berry? Remember, Dorsey is on record as saying there are a lot of box safeties in this draft.
I’m not sure I’m on board with a Berry trade, and it’s made a bit more difficult not knowing what kind package the Chiefs would get in return in a trade. But the logic behind a deal, assuming the right return, makes sense. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, happens on draft day.