The Chiefs are releasing running back Jamaal Charles, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The move has been anticipated for some time given Charles’ injury concerns and scheduled salary for 2017.
“On behalf of my family and the entire Kansas City Chiefs team, I’d like to thank Jamaal Charles for his contributions and dedication over the last nine seasons,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement. “Jamaal has been one of the most prolific players in our organization’s history and I have an enormous amount of respect for what he’s accomplished. He’ll always be a part of the Chiefs family, and we’ll be ready to honor him for his outstanding playing career when the time is right.”
Charles, 30, was scheduled to count for nearly $6.2MM on Kansas City’s 2017 salary cap, a figure that included a $3.75MM base salary, $1MM in per-game roster bonuses, a $2MM reporting bonus, and a $250K workout bonus. None of that money was guaranteed, however. By dropping Charles, KC has gotten out from under all of their financial obligations to the veteran.
Charles’ season ended in early November after undergoing knee surgery. His 2016 campaign finished with just 12 carries and 40 yards in three appearances. In 2015, he played in only five games, rushing 71 times for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Charles’ cap hit was not workable given all the question marks surrounding him and it remains to be seen whether the team could bring him back at a cheaper rate.
No one knows what kind of back Charles can be in 2017, but he does have an impressive resume. His 5.5 yards per carry rate is the all-time highest in the NFL and he is said to be fully healthy. The four-time Pro Bowler won’t get paid like a top running back, but he can’t be entirely counted out as a performer.
The Chiefs can take care of their running back situation in-house, leaning primarily on Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. The team also recently added C.J. Spiller, though he is far from a lock to make the 53-man roster.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.