Are there any potential trade scenarios that make sense for the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers?
The NFL’s trade deadline is fast approaching as October nears its midpoint and the regular season powers on. November 1 is the date by which all teams must wrap their buying or selling, which presents a real dilemma for several teams on the bubble about the right approach. For the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers, however, such decisions have already been made.
The Panthers have already fired head coach Matt Rhule with an early season axing after Week 5, giving them a headstart on the sifting process for a new leader in the locker room. The Chiefs, meanwhile, look like they’re ready to capture a seventh consecutive division title even as they’re growing with a younger roster. They could use some potential reinforcements at key positions, however, which has us wondering about a match between the two franchises.
The Panthers are bound to sell off some assets. Who is going? And who might the Chiefs have an interest in? Let’s look at some names that are bound to be thrown around and look at the potential fit and realistic scenario.
On the surface, without reflecting upon any financial realities, the Chiefs could be a prime destination for a place like Christian McCaffrey. The running back by committee approach has looked solid for Kansas City but the position overall could absolutely be upgraded and McCaffrey would represent a clear boost for an offense that already has no problem moving the chains and averaging 30-plus each week.
For the sake of review, McCaffrey is averaging 102 yards from scrimmage per game for a miserable Panthers offense ranked dead last in the NFL in yards and among the bottom quarter in total points. When healthy, he’s the sort of machine a team can feed with carries and catches as a dynamic mismatch out of the backfield. That much is clear.
The problem is two-fold for the Chiefs here (or any interested party): 1.) McCaffrey hasn’t a poor injury history and a lot of wear, even at 26, with only 10 games total played between 2020-21. Yes, he’s healthy this year, but can the Chiefs count on production going forward? It’s always a roll of the dice for any player to stay healthy, but McCaffrey’s history with hamstring, thigh, shoulder, and ankle issues is extra-concerning.
Beyond that, the finances themselves are prohibitive. If you round the numbers, McCaffrey is going to eat $12M of a team’s salary cap for each of the next three seasons after being given a lucrative extension back in 2020. The Panthers might be willing to eat some money in a deal, but the demands would be too much from the Chiefs here for Carolina to do it (or too great for the Chiefs if the Panthers were to not do it).
Position Fit: 7/10
Chance of Happening: Very Low