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National NFL observers give Chiefs mixed reviews for Frank Clark trade

Chiefs offseason free agent signings and roster moves

The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to be active in free agency this offseason, and here are all of the moved they have made so far.
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The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to be active in free agency this offseason, and here are all of the moved they have made so far.

The Chiefs’ trade for Seattle defensive end Frank Clark generated a lot of discussion on Tuesday.

However, there was no consensus among those who follow the NFL about whether the Chiefs made a smart move. Some gave them low grades, while others thought the Chiefs upgraded their defense.

Here is what people were saying:

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell gave the Chiefs a D-plus for the trade. Here is an excerpt: ”In viewing this trade in a vacuum, the Chiefs didn’t come away with good value. I understand the desire to build a winner around Patrick Mahomes while his contract is cheap, but the teams that have won with a quarterback on a rookie deal haven’t made this sort of move and felt good about it afterward.”

Yahoo Sports’ Terez A. Paylor wrote about the trade. This is a snippet of his column: “After a year in which the Chiefs finished 12-4 and fell a few plays short of the Super Bowl, Kansas City was willing to surrender draft assets for Clark as a part of its ongoing effort to go all-in on 2020, due to the club’s desire to put the best team possible around reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes right before he likely signs a mega-deal next offseason.”

Monday Morning Quarterback writer Albert Breer tweeted the Chiefs defense got better:

Herbie Teope of wrote that the Chiefs had the picks to make the deal. This is part of what he said: “Kansas City had plenty of draft capital to work with to find a pass rusher when considering the team originally had four draft picks within the top 100. But landing a proven player such as Clark, who turns 26 on June 14, over a rookie in the upcoming draft couldn’t be overlooked.”

CBS Sports’ Will Brinson said the Chiefs were “smart.” Here is an excerpt: “From a pure football perspective, it’s certainly a bold and smart move. There wasn’t going to be the type of player available at No. 29 that could match Clark’s ability out of the box next season. This is a loaded draft for pass rushers, but every draft pick is a crapshoot and the Chiefs wouldn’t be in control of their destiny if they sat back and let the draft come to them.”

Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky tweeted that the trade works out for both teams:

Eric Eager of Pro Football Focus wrote a story with the headline, “Seahawks get the best of Kansas City in the Frank Clark trade.” This is a snippet: “This appears to be a steep price for Kansas City to pay for a position that, relative to others, is not a need for their defense. As I wrote about earlier this offseason, the Chiefs were smart to trade Ford for a future pick — they were one of the best defenses in the NFL a season ago in producing pressure and generating sacks, but were 28th in expected points added — because they lacked talent and execution in the secondary. The New England Patriots threw quick passes at will to defeat them in the AFC Championship Game. Adding Tryann Mathieu (a top-15 secondary player in terms of WAR since 2013) certainly helps them, but they are still in real need of talent and depth on the outside — currently relying on journeyman signing Bashaud Breeland and 2018 undrafted free agent (and trade acquisition) Charvarius Ward on the outside of Kendall Fuller in their nickel defense.”

ESPN’s Louis Riddick tweeted:

USA Today’s Steven Ruiz gave the Chiefs a D-minus. This is part of what he wrote: “There are two viable paths to winning in the NFL today: Having an elite-level quarterback or having a solid one making below market money. The Chiefs had both! There was no need to make a win-now move that could possibly limit the front office’s ability to build around Mahomes in the future. It could’ve done so naturally, as Mahomes continued to grow as a quarterback.”

Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk wrote that the Chiefs have been aggressive. Here is an excerpt: “They went on a spree in free agency, signing safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Bashaud Breeland, defensive end Alex Okafor, and linebacker Damien Wilson, and then traded for Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. ... It’s an aggressive set of moves, for a team that clearly identified a problem and dealt with it before they have to start paying stars on the other side of the ball.”

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.