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As the second round of preseason cuts approaches, the Kansas City Chiefs have found themselves in an enviable position with their depth on the defensive line. Kansas City’s commitment to revamping their defense has left them with bodies to spare, especially at defensive end, and as unfortunate injuries have begun decimating some teams’ depth charts, trades could be in order to avoid tough decisions in building the 53-man roster.

Chris Jones was converted to play the end position in the offseason, and pass rush mainstay Frank Clark will play opposite him on the line this season. The Chiefs will definitely place a high value on rotational and backup linemen in case of injury. No matter what, they’ll still have too many cooks in the kitchen, and would be wise to maximize value on any of their surplus of talent before another suitor takes their chance.

The New York Jets were struck a devastating blow when star pass-rusher Carl Lawson was injured during practice last week, finding themselves in dire need of help at one of the Chiefs’ deepest positions. Though predicting trades is a fool’s errand, the tea leaves could point to a potential trade between the AFC counterparts.

With a limited timeline to put something together before the regular season, New York could be willing to pay a premium for a player that has proven solid in years past, or a developmental prospect in an attempt to pull a diamond in the rough. Here are three players Kansas City could look to trade to the Jets after Lawson’s injury:

Taco Charlton

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

This veteran end looked great before injury struck last season, and signed a one-year deal to remain in Kansas City during free agency. A former first-round pick by way of Michigan, Charlton has the length and strength teams seek in their pass rushers, but has yet to put it all together to become an elite defensive presence. Now in his fifth season of professional football, Charlton is in his athletic prime and playing for a big contract before turning 30 in a few years. The new coaching staff in New York led by Robert Saleh, a Michigan native, could look to bring in Charlton for a late-round pick if they think his skillset jives with their needs. He’s played just eight snaps for the Chiefs this preseason, but he’s trending in the right direction as the regular season approaches.

Alex Okafor

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

After re-signing with the Chiefs in July on a one year contract that will pay him just over one million dollars on the season, Okafor is a veteran candidate as trade bait for the Jets, as his veteran presence could fill a huge need for their defensive line heading into the regular season. New York has just three linemen on their roster with more than four years of experience, and the injured Lawson is one of them. Okafor would not only become a veteran presence on the line, but also one of the most seasoned players on the team, which only has one player with a comparable nine years of playing time. Saleh could definitely benefit from adding a player of his caliber while the Jets desperately need help upfront. Okafor’s eight sacks in 2014 were his career-high, but coming off solid campaigns in 2019 and 2020 where he produced in rotational roles, his potential as a starter could make him a tempting target for New York.

Tim Ward

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Ward is a developmental prospect at this point in his career, but could turn into a player to watch in the right situation. Starting only one game for Kansas City last year, Ward tallied one sack and five tackles in his only playing time of the 2020 season. After going undrafted in 2019, and tearing his ACL as a rookie, Ward fought his way back to a roster spot in 2020, eventually winding up on the practice squad. His two-sack performance against San Francisco in the Chiefs’ first preseason game was an indication of just how stacked Kansas City is on the line. It could make a team like New York think about moving on him while his value remains relatively low. Ward could likely be had for a conditional late-round pick at this point, but a breakout season could drive up his value substantially if he makes good on the promise he has shown so far in 2021. If he becomes a surprise factor in Kansas City’s defense this year, Saleh and the Jets could find themselves wondering how they missed on such an exciting player.