Brett Veach has worked hard to assemble one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. And thanks to his strong work as general manager, the Kansas City Chiefs have made the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons.
But after investing significant resources to fix the team’s biggest flaw, the savvy personnel executive executed a low-risk, high-reward trade Thursday that could lead to big dividends for the reigning AFC champions.
Brett Veach shored up the Chiefs’ No. 1 roster flaw this offseason
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl 55 rather easily because of their ability to control the trenches. Patrick Mahomes had no chance playing behind an injury-ravaged offensive line that simply couldn’t hold its own against Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and the rest of the Buccaneers’ front seven.
To no surprise, Veach got aggressive this offseason to ensure that won’t happen again. First, he poached Joe Thuney from the franchise’s biggest rival. After suiting up at left guard for the New England Patriots for the last five years, the former third-rounder will get paid handsomely to protect the NFL’s biggest star.
In addition, the Chiefs fortified Mahomes’ protection by signing former Pro Bowler Kyle Long. The ex-Chicago Bear stepped away from the game due to injuries, but he has a chance to resurrect his career playing in one of the league’s most dynamic offenses.
More importantly, however, Kansas City filled a gaping hole at left tackle by trading for Orlando Brown Jr. Although Veach had to pay a high price to acquire the talented lineman, the move should shore up a key position of need for the defending AFC champions. Plus, the team got younger (and more talented) by adding Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith via the 2021 NFL draft.
Kansas City’s latest move could reap big rewards this season
The Chiefs finished seventh in points allowed during their 2019 Super Bowl run. Last season, though, the defense fell to 10th in that category. Adding Jarran Reed in free agency represented a solid move for a team in need of more firepower on that side of the ball. But the Chiefs’ latest move could also reap big rewards.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter that Kansas City traded for cornerback Mike Hughes. The Minnesota Vikings selected the former UCF star with the 30th overall pick in 2018, but injuries have limited Hughes to only 24 career games.
As for the compensation involved? ESPN’s Field Yates reported the Chiefs sent a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Vikings for Hughes and a 2022 seventh-rounder. In essence, Minnesota moved up a few spots in next year’s draft to get rid of the disappointing former first-round pick.
A change of scenery could work wonders for Hughes. After dealing with several health setbacks, he has the chance for a fresh start in Kansas City. And that could lead to a big payoff for Veach’s latest low-risk flyer.
Can Mike Hughes live up to his first-round form with the reigning AFC champions?
Coming out of college, Hughes looked more than capable of becoming a top-flight NFL corner. During his days with the Golden Knights, he showed terrific ball skills and played with a physical edge. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, they didn’t get to see the defensive back showcase his skills too often.
Will Chiefs fans experience more of the same? Or can Hughes finally make good on his first-round billing?
If he can stay out of the trainer’s room, the 24-year-old can push for playing time in Kansas City. L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward currently headline the depth chart, but neither grades out as a true No. 1 corner. Like fellow reclamation project Deandre Baker, Hughes can re-write his career narrative by taking advantage of his opportunity with a new team. If he proves he can cover on a consistent basis (and make an impact on special teams), the 5-foot-10, 189-pounder may carve out a valuable role in his fourth NFL season.
Should that occur, it will be another case of the rich getting richer.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.