The NFL Trade deadline almost came and went without the Chiefs making a move. It appeared that last week’s trade for Kaderius Toney was going to be the only move general manager Brett Veach would make. Veach, however, would have other ideas. So with an estimated 2.75 seconds before the 3:00 CST deadline, the Chiefs traded veteran cornerback Rashad Fenton to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round draft pick.
What Does This Trade Mean For The Chiefs?
This move shows the faith the Chiefs have in their young cornerbacks. Rookie first-rounder Trent McDuffie will come off the injured reserve this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and should bolster the secondary. McDuffie has the talent to make a significant defensive impact and help take some of the pressure off their other rookie cornerbacks in Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams.
Watson and Williams have played a considerable number of snaps and have certainly taken their lumps. However, they have also been showing significant growth signs and have outplayed Fenton in recent weeks. The hope is that Watson and Williams will continue to develop as the year progresses. With Fenton no longer in the picture, they now have a more straightforward path to more playing time.
As Tom Pelissero points out, this trade frees up $1.4 million in cap space. The Chiefs have been clear about their intentions with the team’s direction. The goal is to retain and develop young and cheap talent while trimming the excess wherever possible.
Rashad Fenton is a perfectly fine cornerback and should help out an Atlanta Falcon defense that is dead last in the NFL in stopping the pass. Unfortunately, Fenton also has been cooked as much as, if not more than, the rookies already on the roster. As a result, the Chiefs will lose a bit of depth without Fenton on the roster, but with McDuffie coming back this week, that will not be as much of an issue.
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Smart Business For The Chiefs To Move On
As well as Fenton has played for Kansas City, all indications were that this was going to be his last year in a Chiefs uniform. However, the former sixth-round pick out of South Carolina has outperformed expectations since he arrived in Kansas City.
Fenton is undoubtedly not a shutdown corner and has had his share of being on the wrong end of a highlight reel, but he has been solid in his role as a rotational piece in the secondary. This year was Fenton’s last year on that rookie deal, so it was either pay him a second contract, let him walk for nothing, or get something in a trade. Brett Veach opted for the third option and now has another draft pick in his pocket.
The trade of Rashad Fenton to the Atlanta Falcons accomplishes several goals. First, it gives the Chiefs $1.4 million in cap space, allowing flexibility to promote guys like Danny Shelton from the practice squad. The Chiefs were most likely not going to re-sign Fenton this offseason, so it was wise of Brett Veach to get something instead of nothing. Veach has found late-round gems like Rashad Fenton and 2022 seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco, so it will be interesting to see what he ends up doing with that extra pick.
Time To Shine For Chiefs Young Cornerbacks
The trade also allows the trio of Chiefs rookie cornerbacks Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, and Joshua Williams to continue their development. McDuffie is off the injured reserve list for Sunday Night’s primetime matchup against the Titans and is primed to step into Fenton’s role on the outside. Watson and Williams have been outplaying Fenton and now have more opportunities to develop and grow. If the Chiefs young secondary can continue improving, they will be an even more significant problem come playoff time.