KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Newly acquired wide receiver Kadarius Toney provides the Chiefs with another option for the team’s high-octane offense. Still, head coach Andy Reid expects it to be a gradual process working with the former first-round draft selection into the team’s rotation.
“We’ve got one football and we’ve got a few guys that we like to get the ball to, and we’ll see how he fits in,” Reid said. “I’m not expecting him to learn the whole offense in a day.”
Reid pronounced Toney healthy upon his arrival in Kansas City after the 23-year-old sat out his last five games with the New York Giants due to what the club termed a hamstring injury. The Chiefs currently carry six receivers on the active roster along with three on the practice squad so there’s no rush to get Toney on the field immediately.
“He hasn’t played for a couple of weeks so getting him back in the swing of things and the speed of it and all will be important,” Reid said. “Then we’ll just see, we’ll take it day-by-day, we’ll just see how he does with it. But he’s a nice addition. I’m not going to rush him into something that he’s not comfortable with or I’m not comfortable with.”
Toney hauled in 39 catches for 420 yards as a rookie in 2021 while also rushing three times for 6 yards. Most of his targets — 42 out of 57 were thrown to him behind the line of scrimmage (13) or fewer than 10 yards downfield (29). The 5-foot-11, 189-pound speedster posted a 4.39-second 40-yard time during his college pro day. He would seem well-suited to the jet sweeps, screens and short slants in the Kansas City offense, and Reid says he and his staff are working through how to fit Toney into the scheme.
“We try to exploit everybody’s strengths and use them as we go, and then working on whatever weaknesses they have so that allows us to get guys in at least a decent position to do what we think they can do best,” Reid said. “It won’t be any different than the other guys. We’ll see how it works out, see how fast he picks it up.”
One area in which Toney could contribute immediately is on special teams as a kick or punt returner. He earned second-team All-America honors at Florida as an all-purpose player, averaging 11.3 yards on 13 punt returns with a touchdown and 21.6 yards on 15 kick returns in his college career.
Rookie Skyy Moore displayed inconsistency as a punt returner during the first seven games of the season, and both he and rookie kick returner Isiah Pacheco have expanded their portfolios on offense. Reid didn’t dismiss the notion of getting Toney on the field as a return specialist.
“He’s had experience with that in college, he was actually very good in college at that,” Reid said. “Not as much in the NFL as college but we know he has that potential, and we’ll just see where that goes as we go forward here.”
Toney joins a wide receiver room coming off arguably its best performances of the season last week against San Francisco. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling each went over 100 receiving yards and Mecole Hardman scored three touchdowns. Justin Watson also reached the end zone. Reid says he’s pleased with the work turned in by the receivers group heading into the bye week.
“The part I like the best is they’ve made improvement every week, they’re getting on the same page with the quarterback every week and a little bit better every week,” Reid said. “I like what I’m seeing there. I like the strength of which JuJu is playing with, the speed in which Marquez is playing with. And then obviously with Mecole, he’s been doing a lot of different things for us and doing them well.”
The NFL trade deadline arrives at 3 p.m. central time on Tuesday, and Reid didn’t close the door on general manager Brett Veach making another deal before the clock strikes.
“We keep everything open,” Reid said. “There’s a chance that somebody gets traded or we pick somebody else up. Everything seems to happen at the 24th hour in this business. There seems to be more activity at that time but we’ll just see how it all rolls here.”