FEBRUARY 11: Toney was not on the Chiefs’ final injury report for Super Bowl LVIII, but he is not expected to play in the title game, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The healthy scratch may well represent the end of Toney’s time in Kansas City.
JANUARY 28: Finishing out a disappointing season with the Chiefs, Kadarius Toney has not played since Week 16. Injuries have been a constant during the 2021 first-round pick’s career, and he is listed as out for today’s AFC championship game due to a hip injury. It appears Toney is disputing this designation.
In an expletive-laden Instagram Live tirade, Toney accused the Chiefs of lying about his injury. Kansas City’s injury report listed Toney as being out due to ankle and hip injuries ahead of the wild-card and divisional-round games; only a hip issue is listed this week.
This rant occurred hours before today’s game kicked off, and given Toney’s performance to date, it could change his status with the Chiefs. Toney, who turned 25 on Saturday, was a full practice participant Wednesday but was listed as limited Thursday and Friday. The team downgraded Toney to out Saturday. The Chiefs had hoped Toney could grow into a No. 1-caliber wide receiver this season; he has fallen well short of expectations.
Acquired for third- and sixth-round picks before the 2022 trade deadline, Toney has proven unreliable in New York and Kansas City. Injuries significantly limited him with the Giants, and they cropped up immediately following his move to the Chiefs. Hamstring trouble largely derailed his final weeks as a Giant, but during his three-year career, the shifty wide receiver has dealt with ankle, quad, oblique and knee trouble since coming off the 2021 draft board 20th overall. The Giants dealt Toney due to reliability concerns; those have not dissipated in Kansas City.
Toney suffered a meniscus tear minutes into Chiefs training camp this summer, but he was back in time for the team’s opener. This has been by far Toney’s healthiest season, but it has also brought him more attention for consistency issues not involving health. Toney drops represented part of the Chiefs’ long-running receiver issues, and his offside infraction negated his own go-ahead touchdown in a narrow loss to the Bills in December. During Toney’s most recent game active, he dropped a pass that led to a Patrick Mahomes INT (and a dismayed reaction from the superstar quarterback).
The birth of Toney’s daughter also factors into his absence, with the Chiefs listing him as out due to “hip/personal” reasons. Moving beyond the issue of Toney’s accusation, this rant certainly stands to spell trouble for his future with the defending champions. Toney has just 27 receptions for 169 yards this season, and while his Super Bowl-record punt return provided a boost in the Chiefs’ narrow Super Bowl LVII win, his absence appears to have helped streamline the 2023 squad’s passing attack. The Chiefs have performed better without inconsistent wideouts Toney and Skyy Moore available; Moore remains in the IR-return window.
It would cost the Chiefs $2.53MM to cut or trade Toney after this season. One year remains on his contract. Toney’s stock already plummeted during his time in New York, and while he has displayed an intriguing skillset, the Florida alum’s trade value is obviously low at the close of his third season.