The Kansas City Chiefs may have lost wide receivers in the past two offseasons, but they believe they have their next Tyreek Hill in the building.
The Kansas City Chiefs are now in their second offseason in which they lost their top wide receiver the previous campaign. This year, it was JuJu Smith-Schuster, who signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract with the New England Patriots. The year prior, the Chiefs were unable to sign Tyreek Hill to a contract extension, and opted to trade him to the Miami Dolphins, where he signed a four-year, $120 million contract. Even with the loss of Hill last year, the Chiefs were able to win Super Bowl 57.
As for who will ultimately replace Hill on the long-term, the Chiefs feel that they have that player in the building already. That player is none other than Kadarius Toney, whom the Chiefs believe can be their No. 1 receiver. Just take a look at these comments by general manager Brett Veach, courtesy of ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
Chiefs believe Kadarius Toney can be their No. 1 wide receiver
“He’s predominately been a guy that is a slot receiver, returner, runner — a gadget guy, if you will — but I don’t know if there is a limit on his game because he has a vertical game,’’ said Veach, h/t ESPN. “I don’t know if [his collegiate team at Florida was] one that vertically pushed the ball down the field, and his time early on in New York, I don’t know if they were a team that really vertically pushed the ball down the field.
“It’s a fair question to [ask]: ‘Has he ever played with a quarterback that likes to push the ball down the field?’ We have a lot of high hopes for him. He was a first-round pick for a reason. There’s a reason why we traded for him and we felt like he was first-round talent.”
As Teicher notes in his article linked above, the Chiefs were targeting Toney in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but lost out after the New York Giants selected him. Toney showed promise early on with the Giants, but he was limited due to a variety of injuries he picked up in a little less than two seasons.
In that span, Toney recorded 41 receptions for 420 yards and zero touchdowns on 60 targets.
With a new regime in charge in New Yorkwith general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, the Giants dealt him to the Chiefs in exchange for a 2023 compensatory third-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Toney dealt with injuries since arriving in Kansas City, missing time in the regular season due to a hamstring injury. Not to mention, he did leave early in the AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to an ankle injury. But Toney was able to play in Super Bowl 57, and made a gigantic impact.
In the second half, Toney scored a go-ahead touchdown reception to give the Chiefs a 28-27 lead. Not too long afterwards, Toney returned a punt from Arryn Siposs for 65 yards to set up Skyy Moore’s go-ahead touchdown reception to give Kansas City a 35-27 lead.
Through seven regular-season games with the Chiefs, Toney recorded 14 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets. In the playoffs, Toney caught 7-of-10 targets for 50 yards and one touchdown.
Now, entering the 2023 season, Toney is one of the team’s top wide receivers on the depth chart, alongside Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Moore. The team also added Toney’s former Giants teammate Richie James and their second-round pick out of SMU Rashee Rice. But, the Chiefs expect big things out of Toney this upcoming season.
Will Toney be able to make an impact in the vertical game that Veach believes he can? Also, will Toney be able to stay healthy for a full season? Whatever happens, Chiefs fans have to be intrigued by how confident the team is in Toney.
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