In Herm We (Should) Trust

You were shocked, and possibly outraged, over the news that broke yesterday – the Kansas City Chiefs are in talks with the Minnesota Vikings to trade defensive end Jared Allen.

I admit, my first reaction threw my left knee way out of alignment. Trading a Pro-Bowl defensive end in his prime, coming off a career season, smacks of franchise suicide. Should the trade go through, hundreds, if not thousands of people in the Kansas City area will have worthless #69 jerseys hanging in their closets.

It hurts to think the Chiefs might lose their happy-go-lucky, carefree franchise player. It's hard to fathom how they might compete next season, or even replace Allen. It's easy to realize why Chiefs Nation is panicking right now.

But I know one person who's not panicking.

He didn't panic when Willie Roaf unexpectedly retired before the 2006 training camp. He didn't panic when Trent Green went down with a concussion a few months later. He didn't panic when Larry Johnson held out for months last offseason, and he didn't panic after opening two consecutive seasons at 0-2.

Nope, Herm Edwards doesn't panic. He's not about to start now.

It's logical to assume that if the Chiefs are ready to dump Allen for draft picks, Herm's OK with it. Hell, maybe it was his idea. After all, it's Edwards, the former NFL Scout, who loves to stockpile draft choices and has a knack for finding young talent. It's Edwards who knows one man does not make a team.

And it's Edwards who's already been through this sort of scenario.

In 2002, when Edwards was coaching the New York Jets, wide receiver Laveranues Coles enjoyed a breakout season, catching 89 passes for 1,264 yards. The Jets had no other 1,000-yard wide receivers, and the only other proven receiver on the team was Wayne Chrebet, who was nearing the end of his career.

Despite Coles' season, the Jets let him escape via free agency to the Washington Redskins, who offered him a much larger contract. Because New York's offense didn't exactly resemble a high-powered scoring machine, Jets fans were understandably upset over losing their best receiver just coming into his prime.

But Edwards did not panic. Despite losing Coles, Herm found a replacement in Santana Moss (who at the time had done nothing despite being drafted in the first round) and had the Jets back in the playoffs in 2004.

Coles eventually returned to the Jets, but for the purposes of our discussion, that's irrelevant. The point is even though Edwards lost a key member of his football team after 2002, he stayed the course, found a replacement, and everything turned out just fine.

We should trust Herm Edwards to do the same in Kansas City.

If Allen is traded for a bounty of draft picks, we should believe Edwards can build KC's franchise with those resources. We should get behind Herm in his effort to replace Allen and reconstruct the Chiefs' pass rush as he sees fit.

If that means drafting Chris Long or Vernon Gholston this year, so be it. If it means moving Turk McBride to defensive end (remember, when he was drafted, Herm compared Turk to Tamba Hali), let's see how it works out. The Chiefs aren't competing for the Super Bowl any time soon, so there's any number of ways to go about piecing together the team. There's no rush (pun not intended).

Yes, Jared Allen is a terrific player. But we should trust Herm Edwards to find more terrific players. That's part of his job description.

Should Edwards fail in that job, should the Chiefs spend the next three years searching fruitlessly for a pass rush while watching their young cornerbacks and safeties get torched, Herm should rightfully be held accountable. There's no way he'd sign off on dumping Allen without a concrete plan to eventually replace him, right? According to Warpaint's own Nick Athan, KC's coaching staff has been preparing for Allen's potential exit.

So yeah, you're upset that the Chiefs might lose Jared Allen. But don't panic. Herm Edwards isn't, and he has more to lose over it than any of us. Namely, his job.

Of course, if Herm is given no say in the matter of Jared Allen's potential departure, it would be unfair to blame him for failing to replace him. But we'll leave such speculation to others.

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