Ex-Chiefs DE Frank Clark Reveals Reasons He Signed With Broncos

Frank Clark

Getty Former Kansas City Chiefs pass rusher Frank Clark with the team in 2019.

June 8 was a big day for former Kansas City Chiefs veterans. First, ex-wide receiver Demarcus Robinson signed a new deal in the NFC. Then the breaking news dropped that pass rusher Frank Clark would be remaining inside the division with the Denver Broncos.

So, why would Clark choose a long-time rival of the Chiefs after rumors that he wanted to return to KC? CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson face-timed with the two-time Super Bowl champion after his signing was announced, and here’s what he had to say.

“Frank Clark to [Anderson] on why he chose the Broncos on FaceTime: ‘The situation with Sean Payton is good for me. I get to play alongside Randy Gregory and stay in my division that I am very familiar with. I also want to help the Broncos get back to the mountain top,'” she relayed.

Let’s be real, the contract probably helped too. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the financial details of the deal, which features $5.5 million as a fully guaranteed base salary. Schefter added that the one-year agreement worth up to $7.5 million also includes “$1 million in makeable incentives and another challenging $1 million in incentives.”

Ex-Chiefs DE Frank Clark ‘Hit It Off’ With Broncos Coach Sean Payton

Another reason that Clark signed in Denver, according to Schefter, was his conversation with Payton — the new Broncos head coach.

Anderson touched on this, but Schefter provided more intel, stating: “Broncos’ HC Sean Payton and Frank Clark spoke on the phone earlier this week and ‘hit it off.’ Now the three NFL HCs Clark will have played for are Pete Carroll, Andy Reid and Payton – three standout coaches with Hall-of-Fame resumes.”

Considering Clark’s strong relationship with Coach Reid, it’s no surprise that a conversation with Payton helped seal the deal in Denver. It is somewhat unexpected that a heart and soul team leader like “the Shark” would join a bitter rival.

ESPN senior writer Jeff Legwold provided some context on Clark’s offseason journey and its conclusion after the move.

“Clark, who will turn 30 on Wednesday, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on March 1 when they were unable to find common ground with his agent, Erik Burkhardt, on a reworked contract,” he reminded. “The Broncos have some room on the depth chart on the edge, given that linebacker Baron Browning, who has not participated in the on-field work in OTAs, recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair some cartilage damage and Randy Gregory had an injury-marred season in 2022 that included a knee injury.”

Clark made a name for himself during the playoffs with the Chiefs. Of course, the Broncos haven’t made the postseason since their Super Bowl 50 win under Peyton Manning (2015-16) — a stat the Shark will attempt to impact in 2023.

Chiefs Roster Includes 8 Edge Rushers

A Clark return on the cheap would have been nice, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary for the Chiefs in 2023. After the NFL Draft and UDFA signing period, Kansas City now has eight natural edge rushers on the 90-man roster.

Those players are 2022 first-rounder George Karlaftis, free agent signing Charles Omenihu, 2023 first-rounder Felix Anudike-Uzomah, veteran Mike Danna, third-year draft pick Joshua Kaindoh, 2021 UDFA Malik Herring, 2023 fifth-rounder BJ Thompson and 2023 UDFA Truman Jones.

It’s a solid group and one that should make for a competitive training camp at the position. That’s not to say the Chiefs won’t add a veteran at a later date. They just won’t pay for one the way the Broncos paid for Clark.

Having said that, a more affordable reunion with either Carlos Dunlap or Melvin Ingram III could still make sense as the offseason rolls on.

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