The Los Angeles Rams have reportedly agreed to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs on a trade for CB Marcus Peters. While the on-field impacts are all wildly positive, there is the nature of how the trade came to be in the first place: the Chiefs’ soured on Peters as a member of the team. Not as a football player. As a teammate.
The original reporting on the buildup prior to negotiations came from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora just two days ago:
From what I am hearing from other NFL teams, the Chiefs haven’t made an overture toward trading Marcus Peters to this point, but other clubs anticipate his name coming up next week at the combine. Owner Clark Hunt has some concerns with Peters’ actions last season, as I hear it, and some of his unusual behavior during games, and he might not be long for Kansas City.
This is an extremely talented and impactful player, but one who entered the league with some major red flags, and the Chiefs took their share of character risks in recent years and may have reached a tipping point.
That reporting came after a speculative piece from Pro Football Talk that wondered aloud if Peters might indeed be on the trading block:
The question being asked is whether Marcus Peters, a first-round pick in 2015, is available in trade.
Peters has become one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, but Peters has at times been a bit of a handful for the Chiefs. The situation came to a head last season, when he seemed to try to get himself ejected, then seemed to assume he was ejected when he wasn’t, then returned to the sidelines with his uniform on and socks off, showing no intent to return to action.
The incident, along with an argument with a coach, got Peters suspended for a game. For the Chiefs, it quietly may have been the last straw.
Obviously, today’s news would suggest that it indeed was.
Over at Arrowhead Pride, the SB Nation community for fans of the Chiefs, they covered why the trade wouldn’t and would make sense when the rumors first dropped. They talked about the transgressions as well:
I were the Chiefs, I would favor keeping him. He’s too much of a unicorn to let go.
For the sake of this article, however, let’s explore why I believe the Chiefs could make a case for trading him.
The first, indisputable argument is that Marcus Peters loses his cool way too often on the football field. Officially, Peters has four career unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, in addition to one taunting call. If you watch the Chiefs every week either at Arrowhead Stadium or on television, we all know it could be much worse than that.
This season, we saw the worst of Peters’ actions as a professional when he threw a referee’s flag into the stands after a defensive holding call he did not agree with. The referees only gave Peters an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but he jogged off the field, only to return (now infamously) without his socks.
It was later reported that Peters got into an argument with a Chiefs coach on the way to the airport, and after that, head coach Andy Reid had seen enough.
The NFL only fined Peters for the in-game incident, but Reid gave him a one-game suspension.
Suffice to say, things had come to a boiling point. And that’s also what the Rams are inheriting.
As good as Peters is on the field (and he’s really, really, really good), it was his character that pushed him out of Kansas City. Handling that will be crucial for Head Coach Sean McVay. And it’s something he hasn’t had to deal with yet.
His predecessor, Jeff Fisher, dealt with it often. Hell, Fisher often sought out talented troublemakers. He had plenty of experience of controlling those types and getting the most out of them. Albert Haynesworth was a monster on the field with the Tennessee Titans under Fisher. In Washington, he became the butt of the joke and a road rage menace. Former Rams WR Kenny Britt had a sparkling early career in Tennessee with Fisher. When he was fired, Britt floundered. It took a move to the Rams to revitalize his career, a revitalization that sputtered when Britt moved to the Cleveland Browns after trashing his former teammate WR Tavon Austin on Instagram. The Rams got four very good seasons out of CB Janoris Jenkins. The New York Giants got one before their entire team dissolved, they fired their head coach and began wondering if Jenkins’ attitude was worth it much like the Chiefs and Peters FWIW.
Dealing with these personas is a skill. Fisher had it. Whether or not McVay does is to be determined. It certainly won’t hurt that he’s got a wisened sage in Wade Phillips as his defensive coordinator who has some experience handling these personalities himself. So overall, I’m not terribly concerned. I do wonder though how much space is left on McVay’s plate.
He’s a very inexperienced, albeit blindingly brilliant, head coach. He’s calling plays for his team for the second year in a row which certainly will occupy a ton of time to plan for. And now he’ll be working with two offensive coordinators instead of one in Matt LaFleur now that he’s the OC for the Titans. As great as McBae is, there’s only so much he can do. He’s talented, but I’m pretty sure he can’t cram more than 24 hours in a day.
What happens if Peters erupts during a game? Which coach or veteran leader will be called upon to calm him down if it happens in practice? Hell, we might get some answers as to how the Rams plan to keep his emotional outbursts contained in training camp. Camp fights are an annual rite of passage. How will the Rams make sure this becomes, yanno, just two dudes heated and working from blowing up into something bigger?
(Apple News readers will need to click here to watch the video)
Ross Travis and Marcus Peters got HEATED at camp today.Posted by Arrowhead Pride: For Kansas City Chiefs Fans on Friday, August 4, 2017
In the end, the risk is certainly worth the rewards Peters will bring on the field. He’s under contract through this season with the fifth-year option available to keep him in horns in 2019. The two seasons we get out of him on the field will help decide just how good the Rams are going to be in this window in what certainly looks like a team in “win now” mode. Whether or not they decide to keep him beyond 2019 could well depend on how well McVay is able to handle his volatile temperament on Sundays and between games.
For all his experience, Chiefs HC Andy Reid wasn’t able to keep Peters’ intensity funneled in a positive, productive way to the point that he ultimately had gotten fed up.
If McVay can minimize his transgressions while getting his best football out of him, the Rams might have found the perfect lockdown corner for their defense for years to come. It’s the first time McVay has had such a challenge in bringing this kind of player into his locker room. But if he can’t control Peters, he may well decide it should be the last time too.