• The Chiefs knew what they were getting when they drafted Marcus Peters. Now as he's traded away to the Rams, the talented cornerback draws the short end of the stick. If Kansas City is successful in 2018, the franchise will reap the praise. But Peters? He'll be shrouded by questions of many wondering what went wrong in K.C.
By Conor Orr
February 23, 2018

The worst kept secret of the NFL offseason thus far has finally been made public. The Chiefs, who seemed just as unhappy with the maintenance of cornerback Marcus Peters as Peters did with playing for the Chiefs, signed divorce papers on Friday that can be made official when the new league year begins on March 14, a little less than a month from now.

He’ll be traded to the Rams, as ESPN first reported, for what will likely end up being a draft-pick compensation.

Kansas City will surely miss the talents of a cornerback who, since 2015, has arguably been the NFL’s most successfully aggressive cover corner. Since Peters’s rookie season, no player has made more interceptions (Peters has seven more than the next highest total), no player has more passes defensed and only four players have a lower completion percentage when thrown to. But in the meantime, we’ll praise Kansas City for “cleaning out the house” so long as they finish above .500 in 2018.

Peters will get what many in the NFL blindly label a “fresh start” as the Chiefs continue their roster overhaul with players about whom they will complain less, and this may end up benefitting both parties down the road. Relationships deteriorate at home, in business and on sports teams rapidly and sometimes the only answer is a new voice, a new location and new surroundings. It was time for something to happen and the mechanisms of the game took the proper course.

The only difference is that in the NFL the player starting over faces a discriminatorily high burden on his end.

Marcus Peters was dismissed from the Washington football team in November 2014 for disciplinary issues.

Peter Aiken/Getty Images Sport

The immediate hand-wringing over the deal on Friday was textbook. As the news filtered out, so did televised reminders that the Chiefs suspended Peters in the past, and that he was kicked off his college football team for “multiple run-ins with the coaching staff.” The lay football fan catching up on the news probably saw the transaction, shook their head and thought “Figures, that guy was always a problem.”

But what about the team that drafted him knowing full well this would be an investment that required time and effort? In Marcus Peters’s NFL.com scouting report, which is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, one NFC position coach said that he wouldn’t dream of drafting Peters in the first two rounds of the draft. Another scout said that he was off their board altogether. But Kansas City drafted him in the first round, pick No. 18. They prioritized talent like they tend to do, but the franchise will only reap the positive coverage should Peters falter in Los Angeles, or should they find another star to replace him with the draft picks they get back.

Meanwhile, Peters starts in a new location shrouded in controversy. What really happened? How disruptive must a player be in order to be dealt with one season and an option year left on his rookie contract? The leverage is always with the team, and not on a 25-year-old tasked with cleaning up his reputation just because we all assume (or were told) that’s the way it happened.

Maybe Peters wanted out just as badly and worked to make it happen. It would be one of the few times in NFL history that a team accommodated a player’s wish without also getting something invaluable in return. Maybe, like every team would like you to believe, there are reasons for the deal that if we really knew it would all make sense.

For now, we’re left with Tweets like these from former Eagles president Joe Banner, an executive who worked closely with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid for many years:

My question: How does someone focus on building character by seemingly just getting rid of someone or something that wasn’t agreeable? Wasn’t the whole point of the sport to teach everyone, from the top down, something truly valuable about responsibility and accountability to one another?

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