The trade for Kadarius Toney continues to look even better and better for the Kansas City Chiefs.
But now, the decision to send a third- and a sixth-round pick to the New York Giants for the wide receiver has paid off big time in the short term for Kansas City—not just once, but twice.
At the time, the trade for Toney seemed like a depth move. The Chiefs didn’t have a glaring need at WR. In fact, there were other positions they needed to address at the trade deadline that seemed far more important than wide receiver.
The trade seemed like a deal that was made with next season in mind, with Toney giving K.C. a cheap, talented option should other soon-to-be free agent wide receivers move on in the offseason.
Sure, Toney might play a role this year. But, at least from the outside, it wasn’t anticipated that he would be a big part of the Chiefs’ offense this season.
It was a move that was meant to pay off in the long term. But less than a month after the trade, the Chiefs have cashed in twice already.
First, Chiefs fans saw Toney feature in the offense right from the get-go against Tennessee. On the very first play of the first game after the trade, the Chiefs threw the ball right to Toney. It was a two-yard reception and one of two catches on the day against the Titans, but it was a sign that KC was not going to be afraid to use him.
Then last week against Jacksonville, Toney showcased just how talented he really is. He had four receptions for 57 yards and one touchdown – including this great leaping catch along the sideline – as well as 33 yards on two rushing carries as well.
We saw Toney fielding punts against the Jags, and on Thursday special teams coordinator Dave Toub reportedly said that
Toney has played a far bigger role than first anticipated. We are just two games in, but the trade is already paying off from that perspective.
And now, we have seen it pay off again in another way.
Late on Thursday night, the Chiefs announced that wide receiver Mecole Hardman had been placed on injured reserve, ruling him out for at least the next four games. Hardman’s injury means the depth that Toney provides is now going to be required. But fortunately, we have already seen that he is up to the task.
After being on offense for ni9ne percent of KC’s snaps against the Titans, that number jumped up to 44 percent a week later against Jacksonville, a game that Hardman missed due to his injury. We saw Toney used in a similar role to Hardman as well: he fielded two punts, and we saw him given the ball in a jet sweep that we have seen Hardman run throughout his career.
The game against the Jags showed that Toney is certainly capable of filling the role that Hardman plays in the offense. I mean, you could even argue that Toney brings more to the table at wide receiver than Hardman does. Given his production and the role Toney is now going to need to fill over the next month at least, the decision to trade for him has already paid off in multiple ways for the Kansas City Chiefs.
One slight issue does remain, however. While Toney is stepping into Hardman’s role, who could the Chiefs turn to fill the other vacant spot at wide receiver now?
If only there was some ultra-talented free agent wide receiver out there with a proven ability to perform in the playoffs and help his team win a Super Bowl that the Chiefs could sign. Say, someone like Odell Beckham Jr, perhaps?