Are Trade Winds Blowing At Arrowhead?

With the disastrous start to the 2004 season, the Chiefs might be searching for answers outside the locker room of a rumored trades are starting to heat up involving Kansas City. Warpaint Illustrated will sift through the rumors and try to seperate fact from fiction.

It was inevitable that the trade rumors would start swirling after the Chiefs lost for the third straight time Sunday at home against the Houston Texans. The primary need for the Chiefs is an upgrade at wide receiver and in the secondary.

Early today a report from a Miami radio station announced a trade that would have sent disgruntled Chiefs running back Larry Johnson to the Dolphins in exchange for strong safety Arturo Freeman. The Dolphins back-up safety has the ability to play both safety and cornerback. He was on a local radio station and stated that he wanted a trade out of Miami. He's probably in a long line of players but still reports surfaced that the players would be swapped plus the Chiefs would get the Dolphins 2006 third round draft pick.

As those rumors started swirling around the Dallas Cowboys supposedly made a call to the Chiefs and wondered what it would take to land the Chiefs back-up running back. Knowing the Chiefs had a deficiency at wide receiver the Cowboys floated third year wide receiver Antonio Bryant. The former Pittsburgh Panther receiver teamed up with Chiefs second round draft pick Kris Wilson.

Now Bryant has had his battles with Cowboys Head Coach Bill Parcells and he's been on the block since the season began. One thing that has held up this trade could be the fact the Cowboys are playing the Redskins in Washington Monday night. The Cowboys need a running back since Eddie George has been ineffective since the injury to Julius Jones Dallas needs a go to back and Johnson would fit the Cowboys offense.

But as those rumors started to quiet down late in the afternoon, the Chiefs received contact from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who need a running back after their Sunday Night debacle in Oakland against the Raiders. Not only were the Bucs embarrassed but they lost running back Charlie Garner for the season. They're stuck with Michael Pittman and Mike Alstott and that won't be god enough to take pressure off quarterback Brad Johnson who was ineffective against the Raiders.

According to reports coming out of various television stations in Kansas City, the Chiefs could be close to making a deal that would send Johnson to Tampa Bay in exchange for disgruntled wide receiver Keenan McCardell in a player for player trade.

McCardell has gone on record about wanting to join the Chiefs but Kansas City has been lukewarm to the idea but it's clear that something is brewing at Arrowhead and McCardell could be the big fish the Chiefs lure to provide a spark to their predictable offense.

Now he comes with some baggage and a huge signing bonus. The Bucs are on the hook for another $8 million of his signing bonus and whomever trades for him will have to eat that along with his salary unless McCardell agrees to a new deal with the team that trades for his services.

McCardell has not played a down of football for Tampa Bay though reportedly he's in great shape. Now McCardell is not a deep threat receiver but he can get separation at the line of scrimmage and he has above average hands. The move would make sense considering the Chiefs released free agent rookie Richard Smith this afternoon. Though the team re-singed quarterback Damon Huard that could be a temporary move if the Chiefs need another roster spot.

Chris Horn was impressive in the Texans game and he has a place on this roster even if the team trades for McCardell. But he might not be the only addition to the Chiefs roster. ,P>According to the Green Bay Packers are shopping cornerback Mike McKenzie and two AFC teams are pursuing him. Before the Packers 45-31 pasting by the Indianapolis Colts the New Orleans Saints were the front-runner to get McKenzie but apparently they backed off when other teams got involved.

It would be a bold move and that would mean the Chiefs are serious about making a real run at the AFC West. They'd have to give up at least a third round draft pick for McKenzie but they don't have one in 2005 since they'll end up giving that pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for tackle John Welbourn.

At his Monday chat with local reporters, Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil was asked about all the rumors swirling around Larry Johnson. He told reporters that they'd have to ask President Carl Peterson about those.

That leads everyone to believe that a trade or series of trades is in the works to try and jump start the Chiefs 2004 season. Even if the moves don't pan out at least the Chiefs are trying to make some changes and that's a good sign.

Regardless of the off-season blunders or injuries that continue to mount, the Chiefs are in a weak division and with five of their last six games against the AFC West; they have time to make a run but they must win in Baltimore for that to happen.

Adding a veteran or two can't hurt. If the Chiefs do make the deal for Freeman and do gain a third round draft pick, they could ship that pick to the Bucs for McCardell and they could move Freeman back to cornerback where he wants to play. Or Kansas City could move Jerome Woods to cornerback to replace the struggling Dexter McCleon.

But all this is speculation. And who knows what Peterson will end up doing but it's almost a certainty that a trade or two could take place in the next 24 hours.


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