Trading a high draft pick for an accomplished veteran is something good teams do. Teams on the verge of a deep playoff run and a serious shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
Teams with 10 combined wins in the last three years generally don't qualify.
Neither side has said anything about a trade being in the mix, so don't think this is some sort of "unnamed source leaked to my best friend's dog" type of situation. Granted, with the secretive ways of the Chiefs' present leadership, general manager Scott Pioli and crew could be planning a New Year's Eve block party at the Plaza and no one would know about it until they started pouring drinks.
So no one has said anything about trading for the Cardinals' and perhaps the leagues premier receiver... but maybe they should be.
The Chiefs have exploded against opponents in the 2010 season, far exceeding everyone's expectations. With a 3-1 start to the season, Kansas City has pounded opponents on the ground while stifling rushing attacks on defense.
What's more, Kansas City is looking at a remaining schedule which could realistically lead to their first playoff run since 2006.
The problems holding back the Chiefs right now, though, focus on the passing game. Dwayne Bowe has yet to provide any real sign that he's improved his ability to catch the ball, while Kansas City's passing attack overall sits at an abysmal 27th league ranking, with only four receiving touchdowns on the season. By comparison, San Diego tight end Antonio Gates has seven. Four others have at least five.
Bringing Fitzgerald to Arrowhead Stadium could help turn those numbers around. Fitzgerald has exceeding 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in all but two seasons of his career: his rookie year, and an injury-shortened 2006 season where he still reached 946 yards and 6 touchdowns.
So two questions remain: Would the Cardinals part ways with their star receiver, and what would be the asking price?
Regardless of their 3-2 record or anything else coming out of the desert, Arizona is definitely in a "transition" stage following the departure of key players, namely Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle, and Kurt Warner. They might have a winning record, but they are among the bottom dwellers in both offense (30th) and defense (27th).
Without much to speak of in the running or passing game, Arizona could be tempted to move their premier receiver in exchange for a pick, hoping to make a couple moves while avoiding a full-on "rebuilding." Even should Arizona win their division, the chances of a solid run in the postseason would make Nevada bookies light up like the Las Vegas strip.
As far as compensation, it's hard to determine exactly what Kansas City would have to pay for such a proven commodity. While Randy Moss plays the same position, his trade isn't nearly enough to work off of. Moss was a malcontent near the end of his career, and at the end of his contract to boot.
Fitzgerald has two years remaining on his four-year, $40 million contract, is still in the prime of his career, and I can't ever recall anyone talking about Fitzgerald as a "problem child". That's something in the diva-filled world of receivers.
The Richard Seymour trade might be more appropriate—a marquis player with a number of years remaining. Oakland was able to wait an extra year before trading their pick. Kansas City would have to give up their 2011 first round draft pick in exchange.
This is a pretty steep price, but it's not like Kansas City wouldn't know what they're getting. Between the mountains of highlight video on Fitzgerald's career and Todd Haley's personal experience with him, pulling the trigger on a deal like this makes plenty of sense.
A number of fans have probably already earmarked Kansas City's first round pick for a rookie quarterback. And while Matt Cassel has failed to impress, a receiver of Fitzgerald's could only help an anemic passing game. Plus, should Cassel continue to play poorly, there would be no one else to blame. And with the threat of a lockout still looming, Kansas City can go ahead and get value out of their pick now.
Between their defense, rushing attack, and relatively soft schedule, the Chiefs have a real shot at making the playoffs, even without Fitzgerald. But as most older fans remember, it's not that much more fun to lose in the first round of the playoffs, either.
Fitzgerald could help fix that pattern. Whether or not anything will come of this, though, is an entirely different matter.