Marcus Peters trade could indicate power shift in AFC West

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Cornerback Marcus Peters
KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Cornerback Marcus Peters /

The Kansas City Chiefs’ trades involving Marcus Peters and Alex Smith mean the AFC West is up for grabs again. Who will capitalize?

The Kansas City Chiefs appear to be rebuilding.

That could spark plenty of debate in the comment section of this post, but that’s what it looks like from the outside looking in.

After agreeing to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for Kendall Fuller and draft compensation, the Chiefs reportedly have agreed to trade Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams for just draft compensation.

As of the time of this writing, the haul the Chiefs received for Peters is unknown, but if they didn’t come away with the Rams’ top draft choice in 2018, it was probably too low of a price to accept for the Pro Bowl corner.

In addition to trading away Smith after an MVP caliber season, the Chiefs have now traded their best defensive player and have effectively opened the door for anyone else in the AFC West to come in and claim the division crown.

Since the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, the Chiefs have ruled the West, thanks large in part to their overall roster depth and the effectiveness of Alex Smith over the course of a long regular season.

Smith wasn’t good enough to put the Chiefs over the hump when the Broncos had Peyton Manning, and he was only good enough to get them so far in the playoffs the two years since.

The Smith era in Kansas City is over, and they are going to be breaking in Patrick Mahomes next season along with a defense that will have many new faces, including Fuller and David Amerson at cornerback.

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The Chiefs could still compete for a division title if Mahomes makes the progressions he’s certainly capable of making, but realistically, how often do teams trade their MVP candidates on offense and defense and still compete for a division title the next season?

I guess I don’t even know if there’s any real precedence for that, but you get what I mean.

The Chiefs are going to field a competitive roster next year but the team’s identity is going to change dramatically with no Smith, no Peters, and likely no Derrick Johnson or Tamba Hali either. The Chiefs are going to be forced to make a number of tough roster moves that open up the AFC West.

Until the Broncos make a move at quarterback, it would appear the Chargers are the current best team in the West.

The Chiefs’ move of Marcus Peters coupled with their earlier trade of Alex Smith makes the Broncos’ pursuit of Kirk Cousins all the more important. Getting Cousins could potentially position Denver to take back ownership of the AFC West in the coming years.