There are likely to be a number of changes to the Chiefs’ defense this offseason. One of the biggest factors in their process of reshaping that unit is defensive end Frank Clark. With plenty of cap-related manoeuvring to do, ESPN’s Adam Teicher identifies Clark as a cut candidate.
[Related: Chiefs Release LB Anthony Hitchens]
The process of shedding costs has already begun, with the team moving on from veteran linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Clark could be next in line, Teicher notes, as the Chiefs “appear headed for a rebuild of their defensive line” not unlike the o-line overhaul of last year. The 28-year-old has another two years left on his contract, with cap hits of $26MM and $27MM upcoming.
Cutting Clark before June 1st would save the team $12.7MM, clearing a piece of the team’s third-highest cap charge off the books. If the team is able to wait until after that date, though, the savings would climb to $19.5MM. Kansas City could use the added flexibility to re-tool their defensive front, as fellow edge rushers Melvin Ingram and Alex Okafor, along with defensive tackles Derrick Nnadi and Jarran Reed are all pending free agents. There appears to be mutual interest for Ingram to remain, but several moves will likely be needed along the defensive front.
The other benefit to moving on from Clark is that it would free up cap space to try and retain at least one of the team’s top two free agents: left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and safety Tyrann Mathieu. With the latter recently suggesting that he is headed elsewhere, priority could be placed on Brown, especially considering the draft capital invested in acquiring him from Baltimore last offseason.
Clark totalled eight sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception in 2019, his first year in Kansas City. Since then, though, he has combined to produce 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles; despite three straight Pro Bowl selections, then, the Chiefs could find his recent production insufficient to justify his large contract.