Let’s get this first part out of the way: According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, of the 54 NFL trades since January 2005 involving at least one quarterback, only 13 of them — 24 percent — brought back a disclosed first-round, second-round or third-round draft pick to the club off-loading one of its signal-callers.
So even if you contend that Chase Daniel bends forks with his mind (unlikely) and leap tall buildings with a single bound (less likely), that having him tote a clipboard for the Kansas City Chiefs for months on end is a potential waste of talent (probably true) and possibly a stretch of cap resources (likely also true), the fact remains:
Cat probably won’t return much of a haul.
At least, not at the moment.
Although you can understand why the narrative has been gathering steam ever since Daniel took the Arizona reserves out behind his own private woodshed during last Saturday’s 35-19 preseason depantsing of the Cardinals. From Geno Smith’s broken jaw in New York — it’s always something with the Jets — to Matt Cassel pushing the refresh button in Buffalo, you also could point to at least a half-dozen quarterback “battles” scattered throughout the league where, if Daniel wouldn’t walk in the door as the clear No. 1, he’d at least be considered a viable 1-A.
Some Chiefs fans see him as a 1-A at Arrowhead, too, although that perspective might be skewed a bit, in some corners, by Mizzou-colored glasses. Which is fine. In a perfect, altruistic world, Daniel, 28 and in the last season of a three-year contract, would have his own sandbox to play in. But the NFL is neither perfect nor altruistic — and even expensive insurance (Daniel’s ’15 cap number: $4.8 million) is smart insurance where signal-callers are concerned. Again, take the Bills and Jets.(Take ‘em. Please.)
By ProFootballFocus.com’s snap counts, Daniel appeared on 29 plays down in Glendale. That’s more than two-thirds of the snaps he took the entire preseason of 2014 (42) and roughly a third of the way to his exhibition snaps two years earlier (99).
So what the heck? Maybe it was a showcase. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it was none of the above.
Because let’s get this second part out of the way, too: As a pro, Daniel has always been pretty dang salty in August, whatever that means. The former Tigers standout has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 19-7 during exhibitions over six-plus NFL preseasons. His 17 completions at Arizona were a new career preseason best, while his 189 yards was close to another (203 in August 2012, also versus the Cardinals).
Although with an estimated $9 million-ish in cap room as of late Monday night, it’s not as if Daniel is single-handedly handcuffing general manager John Dorsey from shopping to address more pressing weaknesses, be they on the offensive line, where injuries are (again) piling up early; at wideout, where the loss of Jeremy Maclin could potentially unravel the proverbial sweater; or at tight end, where the same could be said of a world without Travis Kelce.
And while the frustrations of the We-Drafted-Aaron-Murray-For-A-Reason camp are noted the ex-Georgia gunslinger is signed, very cost-effectively ($600,000 base in ’16; $690,000 base in ’17), for another three seasons. Given the musical chairs in the trenches and the fact that Daniel fits — right here, right now — coach Andy Reid’s West-Coast dogma of short crossing and drag routes almost as well as Alex Smith does, don’t be shocked if all parties stand pat. If Big Red knows anything, it’s that luxury under center beats the pants off of necessity any stinking day of the week.
Photos: Denny Medley & Matt KArtozian USA Today Sports/P>
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @SeanKeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org