Washington Commanders general manager Adam Peters should model his plans around the Kansas City Chiefs' route to prosperity.
There is a famous Tony Robbins quote that says, "Success leaves clues. People who succeed at the highest level are doing something differently than everyone else does." Well, what better example and blueprint to follow than what Brett Veach has done with the Kansas City Chiefs?
Since Veach took over in 2017, the Chiefs have made the playoffs every year, went to the Super Bowl four times, and won the three Vince Lombardi trophies. If that is not the blueprint for a dynasty, I don't know what is.
Commanders should follow the Chiefs' model to prosperity
Veach's scenario is slightly different than Adam Peters' as he was with the Chiefs in multiple roles before being promoted to general manager. Regardless, there are clues that he can garner from Kansas City's success and pull over to the Washington Commanders.
The biggest thing working for Veach is having identified a franchise quarterback. Every general manager knows that is the starting point to building a franchise. Although he was not the front-office leader when Patrick Mahomes was selected, he had a major hand in the selection.
Peters was involved in the process of drafting Brock Purdy. He obviously can't compare to Mahomes, but has been a very solid quarterback so far in his young career.
Like Veach, it seems that Peters looks at a lot of different data points and leverages analytics to make his decisions. Has he been following a quarterback for the last few years - Caleb Williams or Drake Maye? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, the first thing that he will need to identify is the franchise quarterback.
Some of Veach's early success has been credited to former general manager John Dorsey. This might not be entirely fair, as he did serve as co-director of player personnel when stars like Marcus Peters, Tyreek Hill, and Mahomes were drafted.
However, there should be no question about Veach's hand on the roster in the last two Super Bowls. He overhauled the majority of playing personnel over the last three to four years.
Commanders fans should expect a major roster haul under Adam Peters
With an abundance of draft picks and the most salary cap space of any team, Peters will have an opportunity to do the same thing in overhauling the Commanders' roster. The cupboard is fairly dry, but don't be surprised if he makes some moves that infuriate fans, as Veach had to do.
In 2019, the Chiefs decided not to re-sign Steven Nelson, a top cornerback on the team. They also released Justin Houston, a key cog of their defense who had been to four straight Pro Bowls and accumulated a 22-sack season in 2014. Eric Berry, who had been the heart and soul of the Chiefs defense for years and a fan favorite, also became surplus to requirements.
After initially franchise-tagging defensive end Dee Ford, the team traded him to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick. He would go on to sign a five-year $87.5 million contract. He only had 22 tackles and 9.5 sacks over three injury-plagued years before being released.
That same year, Veach reloaded the roster by signing Bashaud Breeland and Tyrann Mathieu. He also traded for Frank Clark, who went on to have three straight Pro Bowl seasons for the Chiefs.
They added key pieces including Mecole Hardman, who caught the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl this past weekend. Nick Allegretti - a seventh-round pick - has been serviceable as a guard.
The team would go on to win the Super Bowl that season, defeating the Niners 30-21. The following year they would return to the grandest stage of all, only to be blown out by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Two Super Bowl appearances in a row and a victory might not typically call for major changes. As has typically been the case too many times where the Commanders are concerned, Veach didn't feel content with the roster. He didn't rest on his laurels and went back to reshuffling.
In other words, there was no Ashburn Syndrome in Kansas City. No overvaluation of the players on the current roster.
Although the Chiefs offensive line had been ranked No. 11 overall in 2020, Veach thought the protection needed a complete overhaul. After releasing tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwart, he went to work to bring in key free agents and rebuild the line through the draft.
The Chiefs signed guard Joe Thuney to a major deal, drafted center Creed Humphrey in the second round, and guard Trey Smith in the sixth. They also traded for Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. before the draft.
Going into 2021, the team had a brand new offensive line and finished the year with the fifth-best unit statistically. After losing in the AFC Championship Game to the Cincinnati Bengals, Veach went back to the drawing board.
The Chiefs reformulated their entire secondary and traded away superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. In return, the team received a first-rounder, second-rounder, and fourth-rounder in 2022 in addition to a fourth and sixth-rounder in 2023.
The team was able to turn those picks into cornerback Trent McDuffie in the first round and wide receiver Skyy Moore in the second. They were also able to find a key piece in running back Isiah Pacheco as a seventh-round selection.
Despite Hill being a major loss to the offense, the Chiefs were able to win the Super Bowl in 2022. In 2023, Kansas City added Rashee Rice in the second round, who has the potential to be a difference-maker for the long term.
Is it surprising that the Chiefs once again won the Super Bowl? Not if you look at the formula that Veach has followed to reload the roster over and over again throughout Kansas City's dynasty-worthy run.
So, what does Peters need to do to revamp the Commanders? Let's break it down:
1. Identify your franchise quarterback
2. Revamp your offensive line through the draft and bring in 1-2 key free agents
3. Continue to get value for key players in trades
4. Nobody is untradeable. If the Chiefs could trade Hill, who isn't available on the Commanders' current roster?
5. Never get complacent with the players you have on your roster and avoid getting infected by Ashburn Syndrome.
What Veach and the Chiefs have done is not an easy model to follow, but the clues are there for how to revamp a roster. Can the Commanders follow suit? We'll have to wait and see.
Don't be surprised if you don't recognize 70-80 percent of the roster over the next few seasons. It's part of "The Process," right Josh?