Frank Clark

Chiefs OL Austin Blythe Underwent Hernia Surgery

Austin Blythe recently went under the knife, but the Chiefs center should be good to go for the start of the regular season. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the offensive lineman recently had hernia surgery. Blythe is expected to be sidelined for three weeks, which means he should be healthy for Week 1.

Considering the Chiefs invested a second-round pick in Creed Humphrey, Blythe’s injury all but guarantees that the rookie will be starting in Week 1. However, that doesn’t mean Blythe will see a reduced role in 2021. The 29-year-old started 47 games for the Rams over the past three years at both guard and center, so his versatility should find him a spot in the lineup (even if he’s temporarily a backup).

After grading as PFF’s ninth-ranked center last season, Blythe ended up joining the Chiefs on a one-year deal this offseason. After starting his career with the Colts, the veteran had spent each of the past four seasons in Los Angeles.

There’s some more promising injury news for the Chiefs. Despite aggravating his hamstring during practice earlier this week, defensive end Frank Clark is only expected to miss three weeks. Pelissero notes that there’s optimism that the veteran will be ready to play Week 1. Clark has had two productive seasons in Kansas City, collecting 14 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and 29 QB hits in 29 games (26 starts).

Chiefs DE Frank Clark Facing Felony Charge

5:16pm: Friday’s felony charge is actually in connection with Clark’s March arrest, not the Uzi incident in June, according to the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope. With a subsequent charge potentially coming for the more publicized June arrest, the Pro Bowl defender’s off-field issues are piling up. He will be arraigned July 14. As for Clark’s second 2021 arrest, Teope notes authorities are still investigating that matter.

5:06pm: Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark is now facing a felony charge — possession of an assault weapon — in connection with his June 20 arrest, according to TMZ.

Police arrested Clark during a traffic stop in Los Angeles, when they found an Uzi in an open duffle bag in the vehicle. The 28-year-old pass rusher faces three years in prison and, on the much lighter end of the spectrum, a suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Clark is also a candidate for the Commissioner’s Exempt List (paid leave). The two-time Pro Bowler has claimed the gun did not belong to him but rather a member of his security team.

Clark, however, was also arrested on a gun charge — possession of a concealed firearm — March 13 in L.A. A traffic stop that night led to police finding two loaded firearms — a rifle and a handgun — in the vehicle. That case remains open, Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell reports.

At the least, Clark is facing the prospect of missing a sizable chunk of the 2021 season. The six-year veteran entered the NFL with a significant legal issue in his past. Misdemeanor domestic violence and assault charges led to Michigan dismissing him from the team in 2014. A plea deal led to those charges being reduced to persistent disorderly conduct, and because the incident occurred before Clark entered the NFL, he did not face a suspension under the league’s personal conduct policy.

The Chiefs, who acquired Clark from the Seahawks in April 2019, will certainly be lacking at the edge rusher spot if he is placed on paid leave and/or suspended. He is set to earn $18.5MM in base salary this season and is currently tied to a Chiefs-most $25.8MM cap hit.

Chiefs DE Frank Clark Arrested Sunday Night

Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark was arrested in Los Angeles last night and charged with felony possession of a concealed firearm. The news was first reported by TMZ.com and has since been confirmed by the Los Angeles Police Department (to NFL.com).

[RELATED: Chiefs Rework Frank Clark’s Deal]

Clark was originally pulled over for a vehicle code violation. Officers noticed that a bag inside of the vehicle was holding an Uzi, and the NFL player was subsequently arrested. Clark was in police custody for more than 12 hours before posting $35K bond and being granted his release this afternoon.

Per NFL.com, Clark’s next court date is scheduled for October 18. The arrest could fall under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, which could lead to punishment for the veteran defender.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Seahawks, Clark joined the Chiefs via trade in 2019. Since joining Kansas City, the defensive lineman has earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods while collecting 14 sacks, 66 tackles, and 29 QB hits in 29 games (26 starts). Clark has also come up big during each of the Chiefs’ last two playoff runs, collecting eight sacks in six games. The 28-year-old reworked his deal earlier this offseason, providing the team some extra wiggle room while converting $5MM of his base salary into a signing bonus.

Chiefs Rework Frank Clark’s Deal

The Chiefs are clearing up some cap space. Kansas City is restructuring defensive end Frank Clark‘s contract to convert $5MM of his base salary into a signing bonus, a source told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The move will give the Chiefs some extra wiggle room with cap flexibility as the cap hit will now be spread over the course of the contract rather than all being charged for this year. Kansas City currently has very little cap space, and this move was necessary just to get them under the cap. Not surprisingly, they’ve been very quiet in free agency as a result.

The only move the defending Super Bowl champions have made so far is re-signing backup quarterback Chad Henne, and they’ve had to watch as some of their own guys like Kendall Fuller walk out the door and sign big deals elsewhere. This likely isn’t where the maneuvering will end, as the Chiefs have to clear up even more space for some possible extensions, like the one they want to give Patrick Mahomes.

For example, they’ve confirmed that they want Sammy Watkins to take a paycut if he’s going to come back to the team in 2020. Kansas City gave up first and second-round picks to acquire Clark last offseason, and he finished with eight sacks in 14 games. After the trade he signed a five-year deal worth a whopping $105.5MM, and he’s locked up through the 2023 season.

Extra Points: Eagles, Gordon, Mahomes

Running back Jordan Howard had somewhat of a breakout game last week during the Eagles’ win over the Bills, and now he’ll have a chance at revenge when he takes on the Bears on Sunday. Chicago, of course, shipped him off to Philly back in March. Howard got less and less productive toward the end of his time in Chicago, and he’s clearly enjoyed the change of scenery. Speaking to the media recently, the fourth-year back and impending free agent said he knows exactly where he wants to sign in the offseason. “I would love to be back,” Howard said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports. “I’m loving Philly. So I would definitely love to be back. I’m loving my teammates and the city. I would definitely love to be back.” Howard turned 25 today (happy birthday Jordan), and has formed a solid one-two punch with rookie Miles Sanders. The Eagles’ running game has been a weakness the past couple of years, but it seems like things could finally be turning a corner.

Here’s more from around the league as we await kickoff:

  • The Seahawks were awarded Josh Gordon off waivers earlier this week, and some were surprised he lasted that long. Seattle was the only team willing to take the plunge though, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network passed along in a tweet that the Seahawks were the only team to submit a claim. They were 28th in the order, so that isn’t too shocking. Gordon won’t play this weekend, but with Tyler Lockett and promising rookie D.K. Metcalf also in the fold, the Seahawks quietly have one of the league’s more talented receiving corps.
  • While the Seahawks were the only team to try and claim Gordon off waivers, they would’ve faced significant competition had he hit the open market. Nine teams wanted to bring Gordon in for a workout and a physical, his agent told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio points out that teams might’ve thought they could get Gordon for cheaper than his $2MM salary if they waited until after he cleared waivers. The fact that so many teams wanted to see him workout before adding him also suggests there might be some lingering concern about his knee injury that cause him to go on injured reserve in the first place.
  • For a while it’s been assumed that the Chiefs aren’t going to rush Patrick Mahomes back and play him on Sunday against the Vikings, but that’s apparently not set in stone. There is still a chance Mahomes will suit up, sources told Ed Werder of ESPN (Twitter link). It would still be pretty surprising, and for now it’s safe to assume Matt Moore will be under center for the second consecutive week. In other Kansas City news, Werder writes that stud defensive tackle Chris Jones is expected to be active, and that the team is “hopeful” on star pass-rusher Frank Clark. Obviously Mahomes is the biggest name, but those would be two huge get-backs for their defense for this suddenly pivotal game. The Chiefs have lost three of their last four and now sit at just 5-3.

West Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Johnson

The Bryce Callahan situation is moving closer toward the Broncos not seeing him on the field this season. After a report surfaced indicating the offseason signing now may miss the season, Vic Fangio said (via the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter) seeing Callahan on the field this year has become a 50-50 proposition. Fangio said earlier this week he was hopeful his former Bears pupil would suit up in 2019. The Broncos signed both Callahan and Kareem Jackson to patch up their secondary, but the former continues to struggle to shake off the foot trouble that ended his 2018 season early. With contract-year standout Chris Harris still a trade candidate, though a player that may end up staying, the Broncos’ long-term cornerback situation is in as bleak of a place since before the franchise’s 2004 Champ Bailey acquisition.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, shifting first to another key Broncos signing:

  • Denver’s Ja’Wuan James investment has gone almost as poorly as its Callahan addition. James suffered an injury in the first quarter of the Broncos’ Week 1 game and has missed every snap since. However, the well-paid right tackle is expected to start this week, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. James is believed to be set to play in a part-time capacity, with a three-tackle rotation between he, Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson in the cards. Wilkinson has started the past six Broncos games at right tackle.
  • In addition to Patrick Mahomes‘ Week 8 absence, the Chiefs will be without Frank Clark. The team declared its top defensive end out with a neck injury. Chris Jones, Kendall Fuller and Eric Fisher will miss another game as well. Clark broke out for a dominant performance against Bolles in Kansas City’s Week 7 win, but the offseason acquisition will have to wait until at least Week 9 to build on that performance.
  • However, the Chiefs will have Sammy Watkins back. The oft-injured wide receiver suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5, but ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher notes he will play against the Packers. In Year 2 of a $16MM-AAV deal, Watkins has not caught a pass since Week 4.
  • David Johnson enters this week’s Cardinals game in the same place he did the past two games: as a game-time decision. Kliff Kingsbury said (via AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban, on Twitter) the former All-Pro back does not need practice to suit up for a game, but with Chase Edmonds playing well in relief, this shapes up as a true game-time call. Johnson suited up for Week 7 but spent most of his afternoon on the sideline. Both Christian Kirk and Jordan Hicks are game-day calls as well.

AFC Notes: Dareus, Broncos, Green, Chiefs, Darnold

Marcell Dareus will undergo surgery today to repair a core muscle injury, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The defensive lineman is expected to miss 4-6 weeks for Jaguars.

Here’s more around the AFC:

  • Broncos coach Vic Fangio said it was “possible” that CB Bryce Callahan will miss the rest of the season, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. Callaham underwent stem cell treatment on his foot last month and the original projection was 4-to-6 weeks.
  • A.J. Green did not practice today for the Bengals and isn’t expected to play against the Rams in London, Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets. LT Cordy Glenn will also not play in the contest.
  • DE Frank Clark (neck), DT Chris Jones (groin), LB Darron Lee (illness) and CB Kendall Fuller (thumb) all missed practice for the Chiefs today, Herbie Teope of Kansas City.com tweets. Patrick Mahomes is practicing again for the second-straight day.
  • Sam Darnold was limited in practice today, Brian Costello of the New York Post relays (Twitter link). Darnold was a non-participant for the Jets on Wednesday because of a toe ailment.

Seahawks Trade Frank Clark To Chiefs

On Tuesday, the Seahawks agreed to trade Frank Clark to the Chiefs. When finalized, the deal will send Clark and a third-round choice (No. 84 overall) to the Seahawks for their first-round pick (No. 29), third-round pick (No. 92), and the lower of the Chiefs’ 2020 second-rounders. 

The Seahawks originally cuffed Clark with a franchise tag for 2019, but the defensive end said he was unwilling to play under the terms of the one-year tender. Ultimately, Clark got his way with a massive long-term extension. The Chiefs have agreed to sign Clark to a five-year, $105.5MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The pact includes $63.5MM guaranteed and gives him a potentially larger total intake than Cowboys standout Demarcus Lawrence. Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets that the $105.5MM figure is a maximum value, and that the actual contract is a five-year, $104MM pact. The additional $1.5MM stems from $300K incentives that Clark could earn in each year of the deal for posting 11.5 sacks or more.

However, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets that Clark may have been unwilling to ink that same deal with the Seahawks if Seattle had extended it to him. Instead, he was, despite his statements to the contrary, willing to hold out until September and then sign his franchise tender before the regular season started.

In a perfect world, the Seahawks would have liked to keep Clark for the long haul. However, after making Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in NFL history, space was rather limited. But now, as Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets, the team can shift its focus to extending Bobby Wagner this offseason, and if the Seahawks can’t get a deal done, they will have enough cap space in 2020 to put the franchise tag on Wagner if it so chooses.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have made another major change to their defense. After ranking 31st in yards allowed in 2018, they’ve swapped defensive coordinator Bob Sutton for Steve Spagnuolo, moved to a 4-3 scheme, traded Dee Ford, and released Justin Houston and Eric Berry. Now, it’s out with the old and in with the new for KC. The Chiefs have landed one of the game’s best young edge rushers in clark, bringing him to a front seven that also includes new pickups Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Damien Wilson.

Clark, 26 in June, entered the league as a second-round pick in 2015, but truly broke out as an NFL sophomore with ten sacks in 2016. After a nine-sack effort in 2017, he exploded for 13 sacks last year, his first full season as a starter.

Clearly, the Chiefs are all-in on fixing their defense, but it has come at the expense of draft capital and future flexibility. The Chiefs no longer have a first-round pick for Thursday, nor do they have a ton of wiggle room in future years after locking up Clark through his prime seasons.

Seahawks Want First-, Second-Round Picks For Frank Clark?

The Chiefs completed a tag-and-trade transaction involving an edge defender last month. The 49ers gave them a 2020 second-round pick for Dee Ford. That type of return will not satisfy the Seahawks regarding Frank Clark.

Linked to having Clark on the trade block, the Seahawks do not plan to let their top pass rusher go for cheap. They are believed to want first- and second-round picks to part with the standout defensive end, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Both the Chiefs and Colts are interested.

While it is not certain if they are willing to meet this asking price, the Chiefs have discussed trading for Clark to replace Ford, Breer adds. Clark has been more consistent than Ford, entering 2019 on the heels of three straight nine-plus-sack seasons. He is two years younger than Ford and at 265 pounds fits Steve Spagnuolo‘s 4-3 scheme better. Clark has also only missed two games in his career. But the matter of his $17.1MM franchise tag and his past complicate matters.

Having already released Kareem Hunt and seeing Tyreek Hill in precarious territory because of an ongoing investigation, the Chiefs trading for Clark would be an interesting decision. Clark was kicked off Michigan’s team because of a domestic violence arrest, which ended up producing a guilty plea for the lesser charge of disorderly conduct. The Chiefs do have the draft capital, with three picks in the first two rounds, and feature a big need at defensive end in what is expected to be Patrick Mahomes‘ final year on a rookie contract.

As for the Seahawks’ financial situation, John Schneider said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on Twitter) it would be “feasible but very challenging” to keep Clark, Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed long-term. Wagner and the Seahawks have begun extension talks. A two-year starter at defensive tackle, Reed became extension-eligible this offseason. The franchise just authorized a four-year, $140MM Russell Wilson re-up, further complicating its ability to fortify the defense.

However, if Seattle trades Clark, defensive end becomes a major need. The team already has a deficiency there, given the lack of a reliable edge complement for Clark. But Schneider also indicated he would like the Seahawks — who have traded down in the first round in nearly every draft this decade — to acquire more picks. They hold an NFL-low four now and are without a second-round choice.

Jets Not Interested In Frank Clark?

The Jets have no real interest in Seahawks edge defender Frank Clark, Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter) hears. On Monday morning, one report indicated that the Jets were in the hunt for Clark, but that’s apparently not the case. 

Mehta hears that the Jets did their due diligence on Clark, as they tend to do with notable players who are available via trade. However, that’s where their research stopped. At this time, the Jets have no interest in the Seahawks standout, despite his significant production in 2018 and the club’s clear need for edge rush help.

The Jets haven’t had a player with double-digit sacks since 2015, but they could have the opportunity to draft the likes of Josh Allen from Kentucky or Nick Bosa from Ohio State if they stand pat at No. 3. Given the depth of this year’s class, they may also be able to get pass rush help even if they move down.

Clark, 26 in June, entered the league as a second-round pick in 2015, but truly broke out as an NFL sophomore with ten sacks in 2016. After a nine-sack effort in 2017, he exploded for 13 sacks last year, his first full season as a starter.