Chiefs receive: LB Kevin Pierre-Louis
Seahawks receive: LB DJ Alexander
Brett Veach’s very first trade as general manager was a deal in which he traded away linebacker D.J. Alexander in an underrated transaction.
Alexander was coming off a Pro Bowl season, albeit as a special teams player. He had a minuscule role as an actual defender, only playing 57 defensive snaps in his two years with the Chiefs. Kansas City was looking at a logjam of inside linebacker depth, between Alexander, Josh Mauga, and then-rookie Ukeme Eligwe. So, Veach capitalized on Alexander’s value and traded for linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis of the Seattle Seahawks.
Pierre-Louis did not have stellar film but filled in nicely for Bobby Wagner in a spot start. He had special teams experience too and served more as an outside linebacker in Kansas City’s defensive scheme.
Ultimately, both players had decent NFL careers, but Pierre-Louis had a bigger impact than Alexander did in Kansas City. Pierre-Louis logged 251 defensive snaps in 2017 for the Chiefs, while Alexander only logged 20 defensive snaps for Seattle. Both had considerable special team contributions, but Pierre-Louis’ 41 combined tackles and two passes defended in 2017 dwarfed Alexander’s 2017 production.
All in all, this move did not move the needle much, but Veach flipped a somewhat valuable player for a team need.
Chiefs receive: OL Martinas Rankin
Texans receive: RB Carlos Hyde
Fans have seen Veach’s penchant for trading players for conditional or low-round draft picks. But, he pulled off a rare player-for-player trade before the 2019 season.
Veach sent journeyman running back Carlos Hyde down south to the Houston Texans in exchange for offensive lineman Martinas Rankin. Hyde’s stock with the Chiefs plummeted after the team signed him, with players like Damien Williams and then-rookie Darwin Thompson performing better in the preseason. While his powerful running set him apart, Hyde’s roster spot was far from certain.
The Chiefs shopped Hyde to the Texans, and Houston sent back Rankin. A 2018 third-round selection, Ranking played in sixteen games for Houston his rookie year, starting four of them. All in all, Kansas City acquired a decent depth player with three years of cheap control. All they gave up was one year of a middling running back. Or so Veach thought.
Hyde went to Houston and posted career-high marks in games played, rushing attempts, and rushing yards. 2019 was the only season Hyde posted a 1,000-yard season, and his dependability contributed to the Texans making the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Chiefs didn’t have a single rusher eclipse 500 yards, and the rushing attack was one of the league’s worst.
In two seasons, Rankin played seven games for the Chiefs and started six of them. Injuries ended his 2019 season early and hindered his 2020 season. His on-field performance was average, at best, and porous at times. The Chiefs released him mid-2020 season and Rankin has not returned to the league since.