Chiefs Reporter Suggests ‘Cutting Bait With the Shark’ in 2022

Josh Allen, Frank Clark

Getty Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen eludes Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Frank Clark on January 23, 2022.

If you take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs cap hits in 2022, the top two names wouldn’t surprise you — Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones.

One could argue that Jones is the most important player on the defensive side of the ball and Mahomes is certainly the most important on offense. The third player on the list bucks that trend.

Edge rusher Frank Clark has a cap hit of $26.3 million next season according to Over the Cap. Because of this, and a general lack of production, the pass rusher has drawn the ire of Chiefs Kingdom heading into the spring and one reporter thinks it’s time to move on.

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Ladd: ‘Clark’s Cut Could Open Some Room’

In a recent article with Arrowhead Pride, beat reporter Aaron Ladd suggested that the Chiefs start fresh on the defensive line by “moving on from Frank Clark.”

“No decision is more pertinent than what to do with defensive end Frank Clark and his reported [$26.3] million cap hit the upcoming season,” wrote Ladd, adding, “integral to the Chiefs Super Bowl-winning season in 2018, ‘The Shark’ was mostly stagnant this past season.”

Although Clark has made it clear that he would like to remain in KC, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up in the NFL. Ladd believes this is one of those times.

He continued: “Toting one of the largest cap hits in the league entering 2022, Clark and [GM Brett] Veach both know business must meet production sooner rather than later. While some believe Clark could take a pay cut to remain a Chief, Kansas City might ultimately better served cutting bait with ‘The Shark’ and spreading the wealth.”

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

After trading a boatload of picks for Clark in 2019, Veach extended the former Seattle Seahawks defensive end on a five-year deal.

The results have gone downhill ever since. Clark has not had a single double-digit sack campaign with Kansas City. In fact, he’s totaled less and less every season from 8.0 to 6.0, to 4.5.

There’s no doubt about it, Clark is not holding up his end of this expensive bargain.

Few would agree against Veach cutting the pass rusher but there is a major question of when the Chiefs should do it. If they release Clark before June 1, they will incur a dead cap hit of $13.6 million. Of course, they’d also have an extra $12.7 M at their disposal when free agency begins.

If they held him until after June 1, then released him, Veach would save $19.5 M with a 2022 hit of $6.8 M. The catch-22 is that KC would miss out on the bulk of the free agency window. Trading Clark would not save any extra dough, per OTC.

In order to re-sign defensive priorities like Tyrann Mathieu or Melvin Ingram III, tough decisions will need to occur. As Ladd voiced, none are more crucial than the determination on Clark — the entire offseason begins with his contract.


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