Chiefs trade idea: Rescuing a Panthers running back could pay dividends for KC

The Chiefs could use another veteran behind Isiah Pacheco.
Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

While most offseason activity on the player acquisition front has come to a halt, there are still some intriguing avenues for the Kansas City Chiefs to consider when rounding out their roster. Some small moves will probably be made before or after training camp, final roster cuts will also make some interesting names available, and then there's the trade route.

The Kansas City Chiefs have two things that make them a prime trade partner for any team: Cap space and draft capital. The Chiefs still have around $16 million in cap space from the L'Jarius Sneed trade that became official in March. They also have a plethora of picks in the next couple of drafts that would allow them to take on just about any player in a trade.

Of course, the back-to-back Super Bowl champions don't have that many holes on the roster, but there are a few areas of concern that could use a veteran to solidify depth. One of those areas is running back.

Let's consider a trade scenario that bolsters the Chiefs' backfield and gives Carolina something for their efforts.

As of right now, the only two shoo-ins at running back for Kansas City are Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. After that, we're looking at a number of undrafted free agents battling it out and some camp invites. 

The Chiefs should be actively looking for a veteran running back who not only brings depth but can take a good chunk of the carries if Pacheco were to go down. Edwards-Helaire shouldn't be anything more than a No. 3 running back in an ideal world. 

One name that is realistic to acquire and could give a nice boost to the Chiefs' backfield is Carolina Panthers running back Miles Sanders. Sanders had a disappointing season last year for Carolina after signing a sizable four-year deal worth over $25 million as a free agent. Prior to that, Sanders rushed for over 3,700 yards with 21 touchdowns in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Unfortunately, Sanders tallied a career-low 3.3 yards per carry last year for Carolina and failed to hit the 500 yards rushing mark for the first time in his career. As a result, Sanders has already been named a sneaky cut or trade candidate this offseason. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently put out that Sanders could be a post-June 1 cut for Carolina to save money as he fights for backup carries with fellow Panthers teammates Chuba Hubbard and rookie Jonathan Brooks.

We do know that the Panthers were a trainwreck last year as they are still in the early stages of a rebuild with sophomore quarterback Bryce Young. Carolina's offensive line wasn't good last year, and it can be pointed at as a reason for the poor season for running back Miles Sanders.

Regardless, the Chiefs should absolutely be in the market for a player like Sanders at the right price. Sanders had over a thousand yards rushing in 2022 for the Philadelphia Eagles and was a big part of their elite offense that earned them a Super Bowl appearance. Kansas City could greatly benefit from adding a running back to the backfield that has had over a thousand yards very recently. 

For whatever reason, it's not working out in Carolina, but that doesn't mean it couldn't work in Kansas City where the offensive line is much stronger, and the offense is built to welcome players like Sanders. You know Andy Reid is going to get the most out of him, and even if he isn't the same Miles Sanders from two years ago, he's useful depth at worst. Carolina's offense was horrible last year, but Sanders would be in a low-pressure situation in Kansas City where he could prove that he's still a very good running back and then go from there.

Of course, if Sanders is a post-June 1 cut, there's no need for the Chiefs to trade for him and that would be ideal. However, if Kansas City wanted guaranteed rights to him, they could offer a late-round draft pick to Carolina so that they get something for a player who they were going to cut anyway, and Carolina may even offer to pay some or most of his salary.

Miles Sanders is just one of a few names at the running back position who could become available for Kansas City to sign. Still, he is the most intriguing possibility and has the best track record for any potential running back. With all of that being said, general manager Brett Veach should keep an eye on that running back situation in Carolina as we move forward this offseason.