Ex-Chiefs Pass Rusher Frank Clark Connected to AFC Contender

Frank Clark

Getty Former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark during the 2023 NFL Playoffs.

Although the Kansas City Chiefs have kept the door open for veteran free agents like Frank Clark publicly, their actions tell a different story.

At the defensive end position in particular, the Chiefs have made a concerted effort to get younger this offseason — signing Charles Omenihu and drafting pass rushers like Felix Anudike-Uzomah and BJ Thompson. Including Harvard UDFA Truman Jones, KC now has eight edge rushers on the roster age 25 or younger.

Quite frankly, these investments make Clark’s return unlikely. Having said that, someone around the league will land the experienced disruptor known for his playoff impact, and Heavy on NFL insider Matt Lombardo suggested the Buffalo Bills as a potential landing spot during a recent article on May 4.

Chiefs Would Prefer Not to See Frank Clark in AFC Playoffs

Given their recent AFC rivalry with the Chiefs — especially during the postseason — a Clark signing in Buffalo would not be ideal.

“Frank Clark, after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs as a bit of a cap casualty earlier this offseason, offers the rare opportunity for a team to add a dynamic talent at a key position, who also brings a championship pedigree with him,” Lombardo explained after naming the Bills as a “fit” in free agency.

He went on: “Clark has two Super Bowl rings on his fingers, has appeared in three Pro Bowls, and at age 29 still has plenty of tread left on the tires. Last season, Clark produced 6.0 sacks and 45 total pressures, as a key contributor along Kansas City’s front-seven. Clark seems to still be the type of player who can elevate a contending defense to new heights, perhaps as a missing piece of a rotation.”

Chiefs fans know a lot of what Lombardo said to be true. Yes, the veteran can still “elevate” a defense late in the playoffs, and yes, he can still have a serious impact on a contender.

Lombardo also connected the Chicago Bears — who do have the Ryan Poles link at general manager — and Detroit Lions as potential NFC suitors that would make sense for Clark. Both would be preferred destinations for KC over the Bills.

Matt Lombardo Sees Jadeveon Clowney as Veteran Option for Chiefs in Free Agency

The ship may have sailed on Clark, but the Chiefs could still bring in some experience at the defensive end position if the youth take longer to develop than expected. A worthwhile bargain could be Jadeveon Clowney according to Lombardo.

“Injuries have certainly taken a toll on Jadeveon Clowney, and he hasn’t played a full season since the 2017 campaign, but the 30-year-old veteran remains a disruptive and potentially dominant rotational pass-rusher off the edge,” he wrote.

Continuing: “Even in limited playing time with the Cleveland Browns in 2022, Clowney produced 2.0 sacks with 29 quarterback pressures in just 305 pass-rush snaps across 12 games. Teams looking for a third-down edge rusher, or a veteran to keep younger players fresh late in games could benefit from dropping Clowney into its rotation.”

It’s not the first time the former first-round talent has been linked to KC, but price tag would be the determining factor here. Clowney was guaranteed $7 million and $9.25 million the past two seasons with the Browns according to Over the Cap. That’s still more than the Chiefs would like to pay.

If he were to agree to a highly incentivized deal in 2023, however, perhaps general manager Brett Veach gets involved in his market. If the Chiefs don’t pursue him, Lombardo once again pegged the Bears as a franchise that could target Clowney in free agency. He also named the Atlanta Falcons as an interesting fit for the well-rounded defensive end.

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