When the Chiefs traded for receiver Kadarius Toney during the 2022 season, they believed they’d gotten a steal in the form of a player with the talent to become their No. 1 receiver and a very affordable rookie contract that had more than two years left on its original four-year term.
Now, it’s fair to ask whether Toney will ever play for the Chiefs again.
He has played in only one game since lining up offside on the memorable catch-and-lateral from tight end Travis Kelce that would have become a potential game-winning touchdown from Toney. In that Week 15 win over the Patriots, Toney had a glaring drop that became an interception by New England.
Through Sunday, he will have missed six straight games.
The most ominous sign regarding his future with the team comes from the fact that his Saturday downgrade from questionable with a hip injury to out against the Ravens in the AFC Championship included a new designation: personal reasons.
He’s under contract for 2024, at a base salary of $2.53 million. The Chiefs can exercise a fifth-year option by early May. At this point, it would be a surprise if they do.
At this point, it would be a surprise if he’s even with the Chiefs in 2024.
The Chiefs have every reason to make one last effort to get his career pointed in the right direction. They’ve continued to give him chances despite drops and other blunders. A high degree of raw ability earns those extra opportunities.
Eventually, however, enough is enough. The Giants came to that conclusion after a year and a half and only twelve regular-season games. The Chiefs might be coming to that same conclusion after a year and a half and 20 regular-season games.
For 2023, Toney participated in 26 percent of the total offensive snaps in the games he has played. He had only 27 catches for 169 yards for 2023, an average of only 6.3 yards per reception.
That’s not nearly good enough to be regarded as a No. 1 receiver. It might not be good enough to be on the roster at all.