Here are some quick thoughts about the Chiefs’ decision to trade a 2018 fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for center Cameron Erving.
▪ First off, Erving, 25, has had a rough two years in the league since he was taken in the first round by the Cleveland Browns in 2015. He’s started 17 games in two years, and based on social media, Browns fans appear to be happy to see him go — which is never a good sign — but the Chiefs’ decision to trade for Erving is rooted in pretty solid logic.
First off, check out my in-depth evaluation of Erving prior to the 2015 NFL Draft. I thought he was a bit of a finesse guy, someone who would be a good fit in a zone-running scheme similar to the Chiefs.’ I did have some concerns about his ability to hold up as a center, due to his height (6 feet 6) and long arms, which would allow squatty nose tackles to get under his pads and cause him to lose leverage, but worst-case scenario, I’d be surprised if he couldn’t turn into a decent guard, where his length won’t hurt him as much.
The Chiefs, however — and this is important — like him as a backup center and swing tackle. That’s a position of need, as I’ve gotten the sense the Chiefs haven’t been thrilled with what they have there (Isaiah Battle and Jah Reid are currently manning the spots). I still think Erving has some upside there, if the Chiefs can unlock it.
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▪ Essentially guys, the Chiefs are getting a young, former first-round pick on the cheap. Erving is due $1,292,188 this year and $1,720,782, which are paltry sums. And they’ll have the ability to execute a fifth-year option on his rookie deal for 2019, which could be a huge bargain if they can unlock his potential.
▪ A lot of you are concerned about the Chiefs’ pick status for 2018; they only have a second, third, fourth and sixth for sure, and maybe a seventh (if it didn’t go to San Francisco in last August’s trade for Kenneth Acker). I get that, and I generally feel the same way, because picks are a source of cheap team-building pieces. But keep in mind, the Chiefs have a pretty deep roster, and remember, they are currently projected to get a fifth-round pick (by overthecap.com) due to the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to sign Nick Foles. If they end up getting that pick, they’d have essentially dealt Foles and a fifth for Erving — a former first-rounder — and a lower fifth. That’s a pretty good win.
Look, no one is sure how it will work out. But what seems clear is that the Chiefs view the trade for Erving as a reasonable gamble, especially in a league where the offensive-line play has never been worse, and the Chiefs may not have been able to find anyone better at the 53-man roster deadline this weekend. Just some food for thought.