It wasn’t the first time anyone thought about parting ways with the inconsistent, yet expensive edge rusher. The larger question was at what point the front office should do it, assuming a trade is not possible.
General manager Brett Veach could save $19.5 million if he waited until after June 1 to cut him, but KC would miss out on the bulk of the free agency window if they chose that path. They only save $12.7 M if they release Clark now.
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New Report: Decision Expected ‘in the Coming Days’
ESPN NFL insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano released an updated report on the situation with Clark. Fowler wrote:
A crowded free-agency pool will welcome a few more big names in the coming days. Sources said Kansas City’s Frank Clark is expected to be released, traded or have his contract restructured in the coming days. His $26.3 million cap hit is untenable for the Chiefs.
Not only that, the well-informed writer even included a possible landing spot if Clark does end up leaving town. “Watch for San Francisco as a potential option here,” he added. “The 49ers will be looking for a speed rusher to help Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead.”
It’s important to highlight that Fowler didn’t rule out a contract restructure, so while the edge rusher’s days might be numbered, there’s also a chance he gets a new lease on life in KC.
The trade route feels unlikely, however, so the Chiefs’ final decision could come down to the risk versus reward of releasing or restructuring. If Veach chose the latter, Clark would stick around for a while.
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Potential Replacement Named
Later in the article, Fowler even lined up Clark’s immediate replacement: Green Bay Packers EDGE Za’Darius Smith. We’ve talked about the veteran as a good fit for Kansas City before and that’s still the case now.
The ESPN insider voiced: “Za’Darius Smith has been a prime candidate for release from Green Bay for a while now, too. The Packers have decided to pause most business while resolving Aaron Rodgers’ contract situation. Once they have clarity there, Smith will most likely have a path to free agency. And speaking of the Chiefs, he would be an ideal fit there to replace Clark.”
If Clark does get released, Veach could use the savings to plug that pass rusher hole.
What Kansas City is trying to figure out right now is whether it’s smarter to keep the EDGE they have, or sacrifice some cap space and trust another to produce in his place. Once they figure that out, fans will finally have their answer on Clark.