Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On Second Thought

All the sudden, I like the Jared Allen trade.

I know what you're saying, we traded away our best player, our most popular player, the only one who gets attention on ESPN, and so on. And yes, if the Chiefs were going to trade away a big name star for draft picks instead of signing him to a long-term deal, it should have been before last season and the star's name should have been Larry "Jay-Z is my bff" Johnson.

But hear me out.

First of all, the Vikings signed Allen to a six-year, $74 million contract, including $31 million in guaranteed money. That means if Allen falls into a coma-like stuper after realizing he has to wear purple for the rest of his football career and can't play another snap for the rest of his life, the Vikings brass still have to pony up and give him $31 million. That's a lot.

And let's look at this from the Chiefs' perspective for a moment. King Carl had to make a pretty tough decision here. Allen is at the peak of his career right now, and the Chiefs won't have any kind of Super Bowl caliber team on the field until (at least) three years from now. So, from a fairly cynical perspective, three years of any potential contract King Carl could have offered Allen would have pretty much gone to waste.

Think about that for a second. What's the point of wasting money and salary cap space on a man who would have been racking up sacks for a team who'll be lucky to win a total of eight games the next two seasons?

Another thing people are forgetting here is the value the Chiefs got in return for Allen. The Chiefs drafted Allen in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL draft. They got two or three really productive seasons out of him, without having to pay him any unreasonable amount of money. And after the trade with the Vikings, they have a first round and two third round picks to show for it. I'd say that's getting some bang for your buck.

With thirteen picks now in this Saturday's draft, the Chiefs have almost doubled the amount of picks that most teams end up with going into the draft. Theoretically, you could say they've eliminated a full year of drafting and rebuilding and developing players because of the plethora of picks they have. And if there's one thing Herm Edwards does well (there might be more, but no one knows for sure) it's scouting and drafting young football players.

This Saturday should be a fun day for any NFL draft geeks like myself, or for any remaining hopeful Chiefs fans who believe the rain will pass and the sun will shine over Arrowhead again. Hey, let's hope.