Last week, the Chiefs agreed to trade cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams. The deal can't be finalized until March 14 -- the first day of the new NFL year -- though questions were immediately raised about why Kansas City would part ways with one of its best players.
The team suspended him for a game in December after a bizarre episode that included Peters chucking an official's penalty flag into the stands and then leaving the field after wrongly thinking he was ejected. When he returned to the sidelines, he wasn't in full uniform. There were also reports that he got into shouting matches with assistant coaches and angered team chairman Clark Hunt by refusing to stand for the national anthem. But Andy Reid is also known as a players' coach -- the Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger notes that Reid has suspended exactly two players during his 19-year coaching career: Peters and Terrell Owens -- and Peters was one of the NFL's brightest young defensive talents playing in a secondary that was among the league's worst.
But for the Rams, Peters' skills superseded his baggage and they seem unconcerned that he could be a problem in Los Angeles -- especially since he's in the final year of a rookie deal that will pay him $1.7 million in 2018. And while second-year coach Sean McVay wouldn't speak in particulars about Peters so as not to violate the league's rules on tampering, he was happy to speak more generally about the culture he and his staff created in Los Angeles last year when the Rams improved to 11-5 after 4-12 in 2016.
"These are grown men, and it starts with the mutual respect that exists, where they know it's about developing and building relationships," McVay said, via the Star. "If we're going to ask our players to be coachable, we've got to be coachable as coaches as well. That displays an ownership and an accountability that we try to all have and makes the players more receptive to the messages we try to implement."
McVay continued: "[The players] know exactly what the expectations are, what our standards are, and they know what it is to do it the right way."
Peters, who grew up in Oakland, never seemed comfortable in the Midwest and perhaps a return to California will make the "maybe a change of scenery will be good for him" cliche a reality. The truth, of course, is that Peters' ability on the field makes it worth putting up with everything else.
"Anytime you have guys that can cover and do different things as far as matching up with receivers like Antonio Brown," McVay said, "that gives you a chance to be versatile and maybe mix some things up in terms of the pressures that you want to bring."