Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition VI

In this edition of the roundtable, we talk NFL draft, the Jared Allen trade, fullbacks, Carl Peterson and linebacker Derrick Johnson.

Many talking heads outside of the organization are absolutely baffled that a struggling team would trade a player who seems to be their only bright spot. What would you say to those people?

Nick Athan: I'd say they don't understand the business side of the NFL. Allen made it impossible to negotiate a long-term contract because he made it clear he really didn't want to remain with the Chiefs once talks broke down a year ago. I'm not saying I'm for or against the trade, because I like the draft picks and hate to lose Allen but it's the right move for the Chiefs.

This is like an old baseball trade. You have a highly touted player traded for three prospects. I will argue Allen is not KC's only bright spot on defense or offense. Regardless, this trade won't be evaluated until the verdict is in on the three players who become Chiefs because of Allen's departure.

Michael Ash: Not that I'm comparing the Jared Allen trade to the Herschel Walker deal, but given the history of teams restocking their rosters by shipping out superstars, I don't know how any educated analyst could still be baffled by that general idea.

Factor in the specific details of this matter - Allen's incidents off the field, the Chiefs' reluctance to pay him a large contract, the animosity that grew as a result – and the situation is even easier to understand. That doesn't mean everyone agrees with it, but most people should be able to see both sides of the issue.

C.E. Wendler: I would say look at the history in Kansas City since the team won their first and only Super Bowl. What do the Chiefs honestly have to lose? It's not like they're sacrificing their best chance at a championship by trading Jared Allen. This isn't the NBA. The NFL is the ultimate team sport.

For once, the Chiefs should be praised for thinking outside the box and taking a risk. This franchise has played it safe for way too many years now.


Do you see us resigning Derrick Johnson to avoid a trade scenario again next year?


When will the Chiefs give DJ a raise?
Jamie Squire - Getty

Nick Athan: I don't see Johnson being traded like Allen, because his agent has a good relationship with the Chiefs. I had a conversation with Johnson's agent a few months ago and he indicated his client hadn't received any overtures for a contract extension, but I expect that will happen sometime during the 2008 season. The Chiefs would be wise to lock DJ up as soon as possible to show the rest of the team that Allen's contract issues were isolated, and not the norm for the new direction of this football team.

Michael Ash: At a press conference about a month ago, Herm Edwards made a comment about needing to get some current Chiefs already under contract locked up with long-term deals. I would imagine Johnson is at the top of his list.

C.E. Wendler: Johnson should be signed to a long-term contract extension right now before his price goes up. As I outlined a few weeks ago, Johnson led the NFL in tackles for loss last season. If he becomes a more consistent player in 2008, he might have a shot at a Pro Bowl invitation. You can bet he'd want a raise after that.


I saw an interview with Herm and Carl talking about the draft and how they always look for the best player available. Do you think that approach is wise or should they go for need to shorten the team's time in the cellar?

Nick Athan: You always want to take the best player on your board no matter what. The good thing for the Chiefs is they'll have plenty of good players available to satisfy numerous needs this year. The question is if Darren McFadden is available, do they take the highest rated guy, or do they reach for an offensive lineman?

The Chiefs are in an interesting dilemma this weekend. They can shorten the path to escape the cellar or can get the best athletes, regardless of position. My guess is they'll go with need and then say the players they picked were the highest-rated guys on their board.

Michael Ash: I discussed my thoughts on that issue at length in my "Bad Draft Strategies: Reaching" column a few weeks ago, but to quickly sum up my thoughts – yes, best player available is the wiser approach.

C.E. Wendler: You don't trade your best player and stockpile 13 draft choices over the course of a few months if you're trying for a quick fix. The Chiefs aren't in "win now" mode. They're building this thing for the long haul. I would expect their draft philosophy to mirror that approach.


Carl Peterson is essentially drafting for his legacy over the course of the next two years. If the Chiefs manage two more successful drafts during his watch, make the playoffs and make a Super Bowl run by at least 2011, is his legacy as a successful general manager secure despite all the current animosity?

Nick Athan: I think that's his hope. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. More importantly, this draft represents the next decade for the Chiefs. If this draft is successful, then KC and Peterson will have rolled the dice and won big.

This draft has to yield the same kind of players that basically rebuilt the San Diego Chargers when they made trades with the Falcons and Giants (the Michael Vick and Eli Manning deals). If that doesn't happen, most people will view the Peterson era as a failure. As Peterson said Wednesday, the onus is on the Chiefs to make this draft count. A good draft could get Kansas City into a Super Bowl by 2011. A bad one will mean another five years of mediocrity.


How will this year's draft affect Carl Peterson's legacy?
Steve Dykes - Getty

Michael Ash: If we assume Peterson is retiring in 2009, I think too much would happen between 2009 and 2011 for people to hand him the credit for a Super Bowl run, even if the foundation was built in his final years. In fact, in most circles, people will probably credit Peterson's absence as the reason for the Super Bowl run.

To address the bigger question of his legacy, I think it's probably set already. Peterson helped turn around the franchise, made the Chiefs relevant again, and got the fan base reenergized with the streak of sold out games. What he didn't get done – not even making a Super Bowl, let alone winning one - will be spoken about as often as all the things he did accomplish.

C.E. Wendler: I think Carl's legacy is already set in stone. A Super Bowl, as great as it would be, isn't going to change most people's opinions of him, for better or for worse. He's still going up on the Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium anyway, someday. I mean, if they put Jack Steadman up there, Carl has to find a spot, right?


What is the deal with all the fullbacks the Chiefs just signed? Does this mean they won't go after one in the draft?

Nick Athan: I would not rule out the possibility they add another fullback in this draft. For a position that wasn't all that important the last two years, Kansas City has not been able to fill the hole left by Boomer Grigsby and Kris Wilson.

Michael Ash: From the number added, I'm assuming Chan Gailey likes to utilize a fullback in his offense and they're just looking for the right guy. I don't think it reflects on whether the Chiefs will draft a fullback – if there's a player they like in the later rounds, they'll take him and release someone they signed.

C.E. Wendler: This is just the Chiefs leaving no stone unturned in their attempt to fill a position. Go back to last offseason and look at how many cornerbacks were on the roster when training camp started. Herm Edwards looked in every nook and cranny last year in his bid to find backup corners. After enough searching, he discovered Tyron Brackenridge and Dimitri Patterson.


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