A perpetual trade candidate is finally on the move. Mentioned in rumors for months, New York Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney has been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. New York will pick up a compensatory third-round pick and a sixth-rounder in the swap, per Jordan Schultz of The Score.
Grading the Trade: Giants Trade Kadarius Toney to Chiefs
Injuries have limited Toney to just 35 offensive snaps on the season, but the Chiefs are taking a chance on the 2021 first-round pick. Let’s grade the trade.
Chiefs Add Toney to WR Corps
Toney is an incredibly talented player — at least, we think he is. The truth is we don’t really know. He showed enough at Florida to get drafted 20th overall, but he’s been so hampered by health issues that we have to rely on brief glimpses of electric play.
In his rookie campaign, Toney caught 39 passes for 420 yards. A good chunk of that production came in Week 5, when he managed a 10-189-0 line against the Cowboys. Toney was outstanding in that game, displaying the burst and change-of-direction ability that made him coveted in the draft.
General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll took over the Giants’ operations during the offseason, and Toney was almost immediately placed on the rumor circuit. Reports indicated that while the new regime might not have been actively shopping Toney, they were listening to offers.
The Giants could have used Toney’s services this season as their receiver depth chart crumbled, but the 23-year-old was hardly available. After undergoing a knee scope in May, Toney played seven snaps and handled two rushing attempts in New York’s season opener before recording two catches in Week 2. Hamstring issues have since sidelined him, and he hasn’t played another snap.
So, the Chiefs are betting on upside, just as they did when they signed another former Giants first-round pick — CB DeAndre Baker — in 2020. Kansas City is on bye this week, so Toney will have the chance to get up to speed. The Chiefs are likely comfortable with his injury status, or else they wouldn’t have acquired him.
Toney can become a souped-up version of Mecole Hardman, at least early on. He’s demonstrated the ability to create yardage on sweeps and other running plays, and those options should be available to the Chiefs even if Toney isn’t up on the playbook yet.
Long-term, Toney gives Kansas City a chance at acquiring a No. 1 receiver at a fraction of the typical cost. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman will both be free agents at season’s end, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling could be cut with minimal dead money.
By acquiring Toney and drafting Skyy Moore earlier this year, the Chiefs have assured themselves of having two sub-24-year-old pass catchers on the roster heading into 2023.
Toney is also cost-effective. Kansas City is inheriting a contract that will pay him just $5.2 million over the next 2.5 years. They’ll also have to make a decision on his 2025 fifth-year option, but they’ll get to see Toney play in their system for the next year and change before making that call.
The only issue here for the Chiefs is the draft capital surrendered. Toney’s upside is through the roof, but he hasn’t actually done much yet. He was also on the trade block for months. A third and a sixth is a pretty significant haul for a player whose promise, to this point, outweighs his production.
Giants Finally Cut Ties With Toney
It’s not uncommon for new regimes to part ways with players chosen by the previous front office. The Giants quickly soured on Toney, but they didn’t just give him away.
From a selfish perspective, it would have been exciting to see what Daboll and his staff could have done with Toney. Through seven weeks, the Giants have created offensive production out of nowhere. Daniel Jones is experiencing the best season of his career, and Saquon Barkley looks reborn.
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But it just didn’t seem as though Toney ever meshed with the new staff. As his injuries piled up, New York’s coaches appeared to become frustrated with his conditioning, and it became clear a fresh start was best for all involved.
Third- and sixth-round picks are nothing to sneeze at in exchange for a player who had been totally removed from the Giants’ plans. In the minds of Schoen and Daboll, Toney had become a sunk cost, so this level of compensation had to immediately appear enticing.
Toney Gets New Life in Kansas City
Fresh starts don’t get much better than this. Toney is leaving behind his worries in New York to head to Kansas City, where he’ll join Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Given his obvious talent and athleticism, Toney now has all the opportunity in the world. He’ll be catching passes from the NFL’s best quarterback while working under one of the league’s most effective offensive play-callers.
Daboll could have found ways to creatively use Toney in New York, but his upside has increased ten-fold thanks to this trade. He’s still all projection, but Toney has to feel better about the shape of his career now that he’s landed with the Chiefs.