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Were the Chiefs Right to Trade Tyreek Hill?

The Chiefs are tasked with moving forward after a major loss via trade.

In a quickly-developing saga, the Kansas City Chiefs traded wide receiver Tyreek Hill on Wednesday. In return, they got a boatload of draft picks for the 2022 and 2023 classes. The Miami Dolphins now get one heck of a playmaker for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to throw to, and they also kept stud young wideout, Jaylen Waddle, in the process.

In losing Hill, the Chiefs are losing one of the best players in franchise history. There's no replacing the value or speed he brought to the team. As a former fifth-round pick, Hill worked on his game and went from a gadget player and special teams standout to a top-five option in the entire game of football. Was trading Hill and letting the Dolphins pay him the right move by Kansas City? The Arrowhead Report crew discusses.

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) reacts after loosing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Foote: At the end of the day, football is a business. Tyreek Hill, one of the best wideouts in the NFL, wanted top-of-the-market money throughout the negotiation process. Once the Davante Adams deal got done, though, those demands became too extreme for the Chiefs to accommodate. Paying Hill that money now is justified, as he's the most unique weapon the league has seen in years. On the other hand, his recent knee issues, his long-term projection, his size disadvantage and a few other factors made paying him far from a slam-dunk decision. The Chiefs did what they had to do and ended up getting quite a few picks back in the process. Now, the pressure is on general manager Brett Veach to capitalize. 

Mark Van Sickle: This one hurts. Tyreek Hill has been one of the most dynamic and high-flying playmakers in the NFL since he burst into the league in 2016. Whether it be as a punt and kick returner, taking a pass behind the line of scrimmage and making something out of nothing, or streaking down the field for a deep pass, he was a threat any time he had the ball in his hands. The Patrick Mahomes-Hill combo is something that will be tough to ever be duplicated. 

Hill’s speed can not be matched by anyone in the league at this time. By the end of the contract he’s getting from the Dolphins, that might not be the case. The Chiefs will very likely not be better in 2022 because of this trade. The team has set itself up for the next chapter of the Mahomes era with this move. They can make the team, as a whole, better over the next four or five years because of this trade. Now it’s up to head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach to make that happen.

Jan 30, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) makes a catch for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter of the AFC Championship Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Marlow Ferguson Jr.: In the wake of the Tyreek Hill trade, it’s hard not to think about that moment on the sidelines of the AFC Championship Game, where Mecole Hardman was jawing with Hill over a lack of targets. Ready or not, here the pressure comes for him, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and the rest of a Chiefs wide receiving corps that just went from being full-on feared to merely respected. It’s a bit poetic that the Las Vegas Raiders — the Chiefs’ AFC West rival — and their market-setting contract with Davante Adams played some kind of role in the deal needing to be made, and it'll be worth wondering how differently it would have played out if the timing were different on many of these decisions. 

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It’s great that the Chiefs are acquiring draft capital, but for a team in win-now mode, there aren’t many ways to spin this into a positive at this moment, especially not after watching Hill reinvent himself and produce without said deep shots for much of last season. With the way defenses sought to key in and eliminate the Chiefs’ deep ball downfield, perhaps they felt they could acquire someone capable of filling a similar void for less money. This front office and coaching staff has proven its ability to maneuver and adjust, but in the more immediate future, the Chiefs’ title aspirations felt a bit better earlier in the week than they do now.

Conner Christopherson: Well, the Chiefs are definitely proving the NFL is a business. Brett Veach set a clear line in the sand when it came to negotiating with Tyreek Hill and he did not move off that line. With Hill demanding more money than Davante Adams got and threatening to sit out 2022 if he did not get that money, Veach's hands were tied if he was not willing to give Tyreek Hill the contract he got from the Dolphins. 

In seeing that contract now, I do not blame Veach for moving on from Hill. The cap space calculus in fitting Orlando Brown and Hill in the Chiefs' future on megadeals was already looking a bit perilous when the expectation was Hill would get around $21 million APY. The fact that the number jumped to $25M APY after Adams got his new contract is hard to stomach. 

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) celebrates after a first down catch in the first quarter during the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Cincinnati Bengals At Kansas City Chiefs Jan 30 Afc Championship 54 © Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

This is for a wide receiver whose game is built on speed, who turns 30 on his new contract, and has slowly been accumulating more and more nagging injuries over the last few years. Do not misunderstand what I am saying, though, this will suck for 2022 and maybe 2023. Also, Veach needs to actually prove he can bring in quality players at premium positions like cornerback, edge rusher, and wide receiver with the draft picks he got. However, the logic makes sense to build for the future when the young quarterbacks in the AFC get paid like Patrick Mahomes. Logical moves in the NFL sometimes fly in the face of emotions, though, and that definitely applies with Hill. There is no more time to run 'Wasp.' It is time for a new era in Kansas City.

Taylor Witt: The Chiefs looked to be a franchise in the very thick of "win-now" mode after handing out 31 of their last 33 contracts as one-year deals and coming off of four straight conference championship home games. But as the rest of the AFC pushed all of its chips in the middle of the table with an unprecedented off-season that saw over 75% of new free agent money spent by those teams, the Chiefs zigged when everyone else was zagging — flipping all-world super freak athlete Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins for what can only be described as modest draft compensation. It became clear that Tyreek Hill was unwilling to play for the Chiefs for anything less than the most money for a wide receiver in the history of the sport, so they salvaged what they could from the situation. 

But make no mistake about it: this move closes chapter one of the Mahomes window in Kansas City. Can the Chiefs still win a championship? Of course. Every year, something like 20-24 teams theoretically can win a Super Bowl. But will they be a perennial conference powerhouse, routinely winning the most games in the league with a clear route to a Lombardi Trophy? My gut feeling is no, not for a little while, not before the dividends of this trade are felt a few years down the line. It's only then, if the Chiefs nail the draft picks. This is a sad development for Chiefs Kingdom.

Jacob Harris: Suffering.

Nov 21, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports