When the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to the top of the fourth round to grab Matt Barkley, there was some belief that they did so to avoid letting the Chiefs, who picked second in that round, grab the Southern Cal quarterback.
But according to Andy Reid that was never the case. Kansas City had no interest in Barkley and their plan all along was to grab linebacker Nico Johnson.
“Well, we weren't going there. I actually was on the phone with Nick Saban from Alabama before that day ever started, so that's just not the direction [we were going]," Reid said on WHB in Kansas City, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "We had pinpointed Nico [Johnson] and that's who we were going after. I know how rumors start and how people justify picks and all this other stuff, but I think if you look at our roster, we've got Akeem Jordan at middle linebacker; that's the only player that we have there. So we needed a middle linebacker, we had a good one sitting right there and it fell that way and we were tickled pink to go get Nico and bring him on board.
"That rumor started and I heard it, and I had to laugh at it. That wasn't even in the picture."
It's easy to say that in hindsight, but it's something Reid's said before: he mentioned that the Chiefs were "going defense the whole time" with their fourth-round pick during his post-draft press conference.
“You know what, that wasn't where we were going," Reid said when asked about Barkley immediate after the draft. "We were going defense the whole time. I know the report was out there that Philly was jumping over us to get (Matt) Barkley and this whole thing. But that was really not where we were at. We don't have a lot of mike linebackers on the roster, I think you know that, you've been out at practice. So you know what we have there, so there is obviously a need at that spot and it fell that way and John had his eye on Nico."
The rumor was particularly spicy because of the teams involved: Reid coached the Eagles before getting fired and then subsequently hired by the Chiefs. And the Jaguars, of course, need a quarterback.
Landing Barkley at the top of round four seemed like a logical move for them, although trading out, acquiring more picks and giving Blaine Gabbert one more chance to prove he's worth his first-round draft slot isn't a bad idea either. (Barkley would've created plenty of tension when it comes to the Jacksonville quarterbacks, even if he was only a fourth-round pick.)
But what makes this even spicier is the way in which Reid shot down the rumor. He's basically calling the Eagles on the carpet, as they're the only ones who could've disseminated a rumor about the Eagles wanting to trade up in order to stop Reid and the Chiefs from beating them to Barkley.
That rumor was very much out there, too. Barkley's addition to Philly's quarterback depth chart -- currently featuring Michael Vick and Nick Foles -- will generate plenty of drama as the offseason plays out. And the back-and-forth between the Eagles and Chiefs should make Week 3 of the NFL season -- Reid's return to Philly -- even more enticing of a matchup.