Trade Trent

Trent Green needs to go. Nice guy, great haircut, lots of teeth in that friendly Midwestern smile of his. But he’s gotta go before he starts smelling like day-old Elvis.

Same thing for Paul Byrd, the likable Royals starter who miraculously won 17 games for a team that managed to lose 100. The Royals should be singing bye-bye Byrdie all the way to the bank. He is everything the Royals don’t need: an aging, often-injured pitcher who wants to cash in on one great season. Allard Baird has said this off-season that re-signing Byrd is a “priority.” Actually, it’s just another inside-the-coffin decision. Let some other team pay for Byrd’s next surgery and his kids’ retirement fund.

The Chiefs and the Royals have spent the past five years swirling in the same toilet filled with professional turds. The past five seasons have been the Chiefs’ worst since Carl Peterson took over as grand poobah in 1989. And the last half-decade has been the ugliest stretch in the Royals’ history.

The Chiefs and the Royals need to stop spending their limited salary money on athletes who won’t do them any good in the future. Trent Green had a couple of gutsy runs against the Bills on Sunday, but he has never been and will never be a quarterback who leads an NFL team to the playoffs. He might be carried into postseason play by grabbing onto the jersey of a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Priest Holmes, but he’s not the reason this Chiefs team is going to be winning games in January.

Once the season ends, the Chiefs should offer Green to the Bears, the Seahawks, the Jets or any other team dumb enough to think they need a veteran signal caller to win in the NFL. Trading Green will accomplish at least a couple of things. It’ll let the Chiefs recoup the first-round draft choice they lost when they acquired Green from the Rams on the eve of the 2001 draft, and it will save $8 million next March.

This past off-season, Green restructured his contract into a new five-year deal worth $29 million. Only $4 million of that contract is guaranteed. If he is still a member of the Chiefs in March, the team will owe him a roster bonus of $8 million.

Green is a capable quarterback and a swell guy. But the only way he’s worth $8 million is if he pulls a Warren Beatty and suddenly inhabits Brett Favre’s body.

Out-of-nowhere quarterbacks like Tommy Maddox in Pittsburgh and Marc Bulger in St. Louis are proof that teams don’t need to spend big bucks on a quarterback to win.

Maddox, who was selling insurance earlier this year, passed for nearly 500 yards and had Steeltown talking Super Bowl before his injury Sunday. Bulger, a sixth-round draft pick out of West Virginia, threw for over 450 yards and four touchdowns in a win over San Diego. Kelly Holcomb, the Browns’ backup two years removed from Middle Tennessee State, smoked the Chiefs for 326 yards and 39 points in the season opener. New England won the Super Bowl last year with rookie Tom Brady, also a sixth-round pick, who made $375,000 that season.

Carl Peterson says he wants Green back. “I would say that Trent Green will most definitely be a Chief next season,” Peterson emphatically told fans recently. Peterson is old-school. Not the good kind of old-school but the bad kind. The kind that thinks a 66-year-old coach who doesn’t win half his games is worth $10 million.

The Chiefs can acquire some defensive help through the draft and free agency. The money they save by trading Green could bolster their incendiary secondary. The Chiefs’ backup quarterbacks, Todd Collins and Jonathan Quinn, are perfectly capable of handing the ball to Priest Holmes and tossing hooks and slants to Tony Gonzalez.

The Chiefs need to flush themselves out of the funk that the Royals are floating in. Retaining Green is the safe bet. It’s the predictable thing to do. It’s also the next big mistake that Peterson needs to avoid.

Categories: A&E