The Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII inactive list provided a preview of the team’s decision on Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s fifth-year option. As expected, the defending Super Bowl champions are planning to pass, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.
Edwards-Helaire, who was not in uniform during the Chiefs-Eagles matchup, was tied to a $5.46MM fifth-year option price. Although that is the lowest number among this year’s option figures and the bottom rung of the running back option price ladder, Kansas City is still expected to move Edwards-Helaire into a contract year. Chiefs GM Brett Veach said last month the team was undecided on the option, but it had been trending in this direction for a bit.
A luxury pick of sorts coming off the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory, Edwards-Helaire became the team’s top back quickly. That bump happened by default, with previous starter Damien Williams exercising his COVID-19 opt-out right. Williams, who worked as Kareem Hunt‘s primary fill-in after the latter’s ignominious exit and enjoyed a standout postseason run a year later, never played again for the Chiefs. Kansas City’s decision to hand the keys to Edwards-Helaire did result in a two-touchdown debut, but the LSU product has not justified his No. 32 overall draft slot.
The first running back taken in 2020, Edwards-Helaire did total 1,100 scrimmage yards as a rookie. But he went down with an ankle injury that December, costing him time and offering a glance at future availability issues. While CEH returned to nearly compile 100 scrimmage yards in Super Bowl LV, his 13-game rookie year tops his career ledger. He missed seven games during each of the 2021 and ’22 regular seasons.
Kansas City moved Edwards-Helaire to IR in 2021 (MCL sprain) and 2022 (high ankle sprain). During each Edwards-Helaire hiatus, Jerick McKinnon saw more work. Last year, McKinnon shined, setting an NFL running back record by catching a touchdown pass in six straight games and establishing a new Chiefs running back benchmark by catching nine TD passes. While the Chiefs used one of their IR activations on Edwards-Helaire, moving him back onto the roster on the eve of Super Bowl LVII, they made him a healthy scratch as McKinnon and 2022 seventh-rounder Isiah Pacheco split work in Arizona.
Edwards-Helaire, 24, is due for free agency next year. It will be interesting to see if another team calls the Chiefs on the fourth-year back, seeing as McKinnon is back in the fold alongside Pacheco. La’Mical Perine is also on Kansas City’s 90-man offseason roster.