The idea that the Kansas City Chiefs would trade Tyreek Hill is ridiculous and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all, despite what Jay Glazer wrote.
If you glanced at the NFL Twittersphere this weekend, you likely saw one or more mentions of the possibility of the Kansas City Chiefs trading away wide receiver Tyreek Hill. If you weren’t laughing or crying, you had the wrong response. It’s never happening.
The progression of thought goes something like this:
- Tyreek Hill was suspended any team activities earlier this offseason and faced a potential suspension for much of 2018.
- The Chiefs responded in the draft by taking a similarly skilled player in Georgia wideout Mecole Hardman.
- Hill was recently cleared of any wrongdoing on the part of the NFL, allowing him to play a full season.
- Now that Hill can report to training camp and move on with his football career, the conversation about Hill shifts back to the financial reality that he’s entering his contract season.
- The Chiefs were looking at potential long-term deals for Hill, Chris Jones, and/or Kendall Fuller coming into this offseason and not a single player has been extended.
- Using reductive logic that is inaccurate as can be, the Chiefs could trade Hill (and his $20M expectations), insert Hardman, shift money to Mahomes or Jones, and not miss a beat. Plus they’ll get something back for Hill to help the team in other ways.
I’m assuming that’s the way it goes, at least.
Back to that Glazer quote. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk unearthed this single line from a mailbag column of Glazer’s in March (via the Athletic). Glazer writes, “I heard some rumblings at the start of free agency that [Hill’s] name was being thrown about in trade talks, but at the time thought it had to do with his contract more than anything else.”
Maybe, just maybe, a scout or front office exec told Glazer that his/her team tried to ask about trading for Hill. Maybe, just maybe, general manager Brett Veach was asking random “what if” questions just to see what his players can get—in the same way a video game player likely shops every player versus the computer in Madden to try to see what’s possible. Maybe, just maybe, Glazer got some bad intel.
It doesn’t matter. None of it will ever come to fruition. Tyreek Hill will retire, or at least will use up his prime playing career, with the Kansas City Chiefs.
No weapon like Tyreek
Somehow, in the midst of criminal investigations and suspension rumors and online debates and official statements, some people have forgotten about Tyreek Hill’s electric abilities. Namely, they have forgotten that there’s not a single weapon in the NFL like him.
Are there better players at skill positions? Sure, you could make a case for 1-5 players who are better wide receivers right now in the NFL than Hill—a list that likely includes Odell Beckham, Jr., Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Antonio Brown. Yes, a player like Saquon Barkley is better out of the backfield than Hill as a running back. But there is no single player on any offense that is more dangerous than Tyreek Hill.
Don’t just take my word for it. Popular NFL columnist Peter King asked quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints that very question: “Who is the NFL’s most dangerous player?” Their answer was a united front: Tyreek Hill. Note that King didn’t even distill it down to an offensive player. Tyreek is the most dangerous. Period.
Hill has just now transitioned to a full-time, top-tier wide receiver and his response was to shatter the Chiefs’ single-season record for most receiving yards in a single year. He remains a threat to score on any given play, even when he’s used out of the backfield. He is also the NFL’s best returner despite the Chiefs’ decision to minimize some of his special teams work for the sake of health and fatigue.
Here’s what a team doesn’t do: they don’t trade the NFL’s fastest player who also happens to be a sponge of a learner who is able to translate those incredible raw skills through hard work into excellent technique. With three Pro Bowls in three seasons, Hill has a real chance to not only set numerous team records but NFL marks as well. This is a future Hall of Fame player we are talking about who is still playing on his rookie contract.
Depending on a draftee?
It’s a wonderful thing for Mecole Hardman to earn comparisons to Tyreek Hill. Those aren’t comps to take lightly and the expectations on the Georgia product are only enhanced with those sorts of parallels. So far, the team says Hardman looks good and has soaked up all they’ve given him, even as the team’s coaches have agreed they’ve been extra hard on him in the early going.
The Chiefs ability to push Hardman has nothing to do with Hill, however. No one at Arrowhead is asking Hardman to get ready for the sake of replacing him. As we’ve already noted, there is no replacing him. Not a single defender paid to play professional football can stop Tyreek Hill. The idea that the Chiefs would then downgrade to someone who can hopefully mirror some decent percentage of Hill’s production is laughable.
Even when they drafted Hill, Veach was clear that he did not draft Hardman because of the potential loss of Hill for a few weeks or more. Hardman was their target for a long time with the belief that the two could work in tandem to stretch defenses more than ever. It’s all about mismatches and Hardman’s abilities translate well to further exploit such matchups.
Imagine if other teams made this sort of move; it would sound laughable. If the Rams drafted a second round defensive tackle and then decided to trade Aaron Donald, no one would ever expect that rookie to just step in and replace him. Why does no one assume that the Patriots could just trade Brady and bring in another player in the second round or so to replace him in day one? Because you don’t depend upon a draftee like that. It’s not unlikely but irresponsible.
Hardman might have top speed like Hill or dynamic return skills, but that’s also true of several other NFL players. That doesn’t necessarily mean each of those players should come with Tyreek-esque expectations. It just means that the Chiefs have added another fast wideout that also gives them further special teams options.
There’s nothing more to read into it.
Didn’t dump when they could
Finally, and this is perhaps the most telling, there was a time this offseason when the Chiefs could have escaped all of this drama if/when they wanted.
Remember when Kareem Hunt was released, it was right in the midst of the drama. Announcements were made and then came decisions, one after the other. In this case, the Chiefs faced significant backlash from fans and NFL analysts who wanted swift justice—or what they believed to be just—yet they still held firm. Fans demanded answers, and the Chiefs didn’t feel compelled to offer any.
If the Chiefs wanted to somehow distance themselves from Hill in any way, they sure have a funny way of showing it.
The reality is that current rumors are pointing to both sides coming back to the table to commit to the next few years of their relationship. While there might be some concessions given to the Chiefs given the drama of this offseason, Hill will still cost a pretty penny for the Chiefs.
For a weapon this dangerous, it’s a privilege to spend the money.