On Tuesday night, the Kansas City Chiefs sent their pro bowl quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for a third-round selection and cornerback Kendall Fuller.
Immediately, the Chiefs seems to have won the trade as they clear $17 million in cap space due to Smith, acquire the second highest rated slot corner from 2017, according to Pro Football Focus, get an extra 2018 draft pick and are able to turn the reins over to very promising young quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Just in regards to Kansas City, Raider Nation took an L while Washington got robbed.
Derek Carr has already struggled facing the Chiefs and cornerback Marcus Peters. In 2018, Carr will have the added worry of having to face one of the best slot corners in the game as well.
Andy Reid has also seen some great success in the third round of NFL drafts, adding the likes of Travis Kelce, Chris Conley and Kareem Hunt since 2013. And with the money saved from trading Smith, Kansas City goes from being $10 million over the cap to now $7 million under the cap, per Spotrac.
That might not even be the biggest worry for the Raiders in the AFC West. After Tuesday’s trade Washington QB Kirk Cousins will be looking for a new team. Among the top contenders for his services are the Denver Broncos, who have been a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender since the moment Peyton Manning retired.
While many might think that Cousins couldn’t join the Broncos due to a lack of cap space, they are sadly mistaken.
At the moment, Denver possesses over $24 million in cap space. That number may not be enough to sign Cousins, but plenty of cap space can be created if the Broncos decide to make a few realistic moves.
First, the team can cut cornerback Aqib Talib. If they chose to do so, the move would only save $11 million with just $1 million in dead money, per Spotrac.
Next, Denver could say goodbye to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to save another $7.6 million. John Elway would have to eat $4.4 million in dead cap, but $4.4 million wouldn’t get in the way of signing a franchise quarterback.
The Broncos could also release defensive tackle Domata Peko to save the team $3.7 million while only losing $500,000 to dead money.
With just these three moves, which includes cutting three players all greater than 30 years of age, Denver would save over $22.3 million and have almost $47 million in cap space to sign Cousins.
If Cousins signs for $27 million per year, which seems like a reasonable estimate, the team would still have close to $20 million in cap space to sign other free agents and their draft class without having to make any costly decisions.
Critics might still wonder, why would Cousins want to join the Broncos?
Elway has shown that he is remarkable in building every aspect of a team except the quarterback. So if Cousins goes to Denver, Elway will have the one piece he has struggled so mightily to find.
Denver also has the number 5 selection in the draft which could easily be used to draft a top offensive weapon like SaQuon Barkley or Calvin Ridley, or be used to trade down in the draft with a quarterback-hungry team to haul a ton of draft picks to complement the roster.
Raider Nation, the offseason started off with a bang by hiring Jon Gruden, but it might not be a fantasy from here on out with the deal the Chiefs just got and the possibility of Cousins joining the Broncos.