KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the NFL trade market heating up ahead of the deadline on Nov. 1, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach jumped into the fray on Thursday in landing former first-round wide receiver Kadarius Toney from the New York Giants in exchange for two 2023 draft choices.
The Chiefs sent a conditional 2023 third-round choice (compensation for Chicago hiring Ryan Poles as their general manager) and the team’s 2023 sixth-round selection to the Giants in return for Toney.
Toney, who was selected by the Giants No. 20 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, played in two games this season for New York before a hamstring injury sidelined him during the past five games. He caught two passes for no gain and also rushed twice for 23 yards in those two contests.
Injuries have played a significant role in Toney’s young NFL career, limiting him to just 12 out of a possible 24 games with the Giants during the past two seasons. In 10 games last season, Toney caught 41 passes for 420 yards while also rushing five times for 29 yards.
While the Giants primarily used the 6-0, 193-pound Toney as a receiver, he also has experience in the backfield and as a wildcat quarterback. He was also a special teams returner at Florida, where he returned 13 punts including one for a score while averaging 11.3 yards per return along with 15 kick returns for a 21.6-yard average. The Gators listed Toney as a utility player until moving him to receiver as a senior, and he earned second-team All-America honors as an all-purpose player. He was a finalist as a senior for the Paul Hornung Award given to the nation’s most versatile player.
The Chiefs will pick up the remainder of Toney’s rookie contract, which runs through 2024 with a club fifth-year option for 2025. Toney will have a prorated salary cap hit of $755,067 in 2022 with base salaries of $1,907,228 in 2023 and $2,530,842 in 2024. As of Thursday morning, the NFLPA public salary cap report showed the Chiefs with $4,190,024 in available cap room.
As an in-season addition to the Chiefs’ passing game, history would suggest modest expectations for Toney in 2022. Despite past high-profile acquisitions such as Josh Gordon and Kelvin Benjamin, the most production receiver added by the Chiefs during the season during the Andy Reid era was Jason Avant in 2014. Avant caught 13 passes for 152 yards in five games for the Chiefs that season — he also spent the first eight seasons of his career in Philadelphia with seven coming under Reid as head coach.
But the addition of Toney also helps fill a gap in the Chiefs’ receiver room beyond 2022. The club has only three receivers under contract for the 2023 season, including Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore along with rookie Justyn Ross who is out for the season on injured reserve. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson are eligible for free agency after this season.