Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Chiefs To Decline RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s Fifth-Year Option

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.

[RELATED: 2024 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

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.

2024 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2020 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the third-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($29.5MM): Exercised
  2. DE Chase Young, Commanders ($17.45MM): Declined
  3. CB Jeff Okudah, Falcons* ($11.51MM): N/A
  4. T Andrew Thomas, Giants ($14.18MM): Exercised
  5. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins ($23.2MM): Exercised
  6. QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($29.5MM): Exercised
  7. DT Derrick Brown, Panthers ($11.67MM): Exercised 
  8. LB Isaiah Simmons, Cardinals ($12.72MM): Declined
  9. CB C.J. Henderson, Jaguars** ($11.51MM): Declined
  10. T Jedrick Wills, Browns ($14.18MM): Exercised
  11. T Mekhi Becton, Jets ($12.57MM): Declined
  12. WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders: N/A
  13. T Tristan Wirfs, Buccaneers ($18.24MM): Exercised
  14. DT Javon Kinlaw, 49ers ($10.46MM): Declined
  15. WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($14.12MM): Exercised
  16. CB AJ Terrell, Falcons ($12.34MM): Exercised
  17. WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($17.99MM): Exercised
  18. OL Austin Jackson, Dolphins ($14.18MM): Declined
  19. CB Damon Arnette, Raiders: N/A
  20. DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars ($12.14MM): Declined
  21. WR Jalen Reagor, Vikings*** ($12.99MM): To decline
  22. WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($19.74MM): Exercised
  23. LB Kenneth Murray, Chargers ($11.73MM): Declined
  24. G Cesar Ruiz, Saints ($14.18MM): Declined
  25. WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($14.12MM): Exercised
  26. QB Jordan Love, Packers ($20.27MM): Extended through 2024
  27. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seahawks ($12.72MM): Declined
  28. LB Patrick Queen, Ravens ($12.72MM): Declined
  29. T Isaiah Wilson, Titans: N/A
  30. CB Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins ($11.51MM): Declined
  31. CB Jeff Gladney, Vikings: N/A
  32. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs ($5.46MM): To decline

* = Lions traded Okudah on April 11, 2023
** = Jaguars traded Henderson on Sept. 27, 2021
*** = Eagles traded Reagor on August 31, 2022

Chiefs To Discuss Jerick McKinnon Deal After Draft

It took the Chiefs and Jerick McKinnon until June last year before another contract agreement emerged. A third Kansas City McKinnon pact might end up coming around the same juncture.

The productive pass-catching back remains unsigned, sitting out a market that produced a host of low-cost deals in March. But the Chiefs still have McKinnon in their 2023 plans. Praising the team’s two-year contributor, GM Brett Veach said (via The Athletic’s Nate Taylor) Thursday they plan to begin discussions with the veteran after the draft.

McKinnon, who will turn 32 next month, has managed to go from two straight full-season absences (2018-19) to staying mostly healthy in Kansas City over the past two seasons. The former Vikings draftee did not miss a game last year and enjoyed the best receiving season of his career, catching 56 passes for 512 yards and nine touchdowns. Not only catching two more touchdown passes in a season than any other back in Chiefs history, McKinnon also set a post-merger NFL running back record by catching a TD pass in six straight games.

The Chiefs have relied on McKinnon in each of the past two postseasons. Last season, he and rookie Isiah Pacheco formed a quality tandem — each attached to league-minimum deals — while Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a healthy scratch in Super Bowl LVII. McKinnon logged a 47% offensive snap rate last season, being featured far more often in Andy Reid‘s offense compared to his 2021 debut.

It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs offer the nine-year veteran much of a raise. This year’s running back market led to a few starter-level backs — D’Onta Foreman, Damien Harris, Devin Singletary — signing one-year deals for less than $3MM. Of course, McKinnon played for $1.2MM last season and $1MM in 2021. While his performance warrants a raise, the market has not been kind to veteran backs this offseason. Given Pacheco’s success from a seventh-round draft slot, the Chiefs’ backfield situation may also change in the upcoming draft

Should McKinnon re-sign with the Chiefs after the draft, he will join Cordarrelle Patterson as the only 32-year-old running backs under contract. Raheem Mostert is the only 31-year-old back under contract, having re-signed with the Dolphins last month. The Chiefs have Pacheco signed through 2025, and Edwards-Helaire is likely going into a contract year. While Veach did not indicate which way the team was leaning regarding CEH’s fifth-year option, it should not be expected the defending Super Bowl champions will exercise that by the May deadline.

Chiefs Activate RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Place WR Mecole Hardman On IR

FEBRUARY 12: Even though Edwards-Helaire is healthy enough to play, he is among the team’s inactives for tonight’s championship game. That news comes as little surprise given the time he has missed, and confirms that Pacheco and McKinnon will handle the load in the backfield for Kansas City.

FEBRUARY 6: As the countdown to Super Bowl LVII continues, the Chiefs have made a pair of injury-related moves. The team announced on Monday that running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had been activated from injured reserve, while wideout Mecole Hardman has been placed on IR.

[Poll: Who Will Win Super Bowl LVII?]

The former’s three-week activation window had nearly expired, as he had been designated for return on January 17. The news will be a welcomed sight for Kansas City in terms of being closer to full health on offense, though the former first-rounder may not be in line for a particularly large role in the championship game.

Edwards-Helaire has not played since Week 11 due to a high ankle sprain. In his absence, the Chiefs have increasingly turned the reins over to seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco as their early-down back. Jerick McKinnon, meanwhile, has excelled in a pass-catching role, scoring at least one touchdown in six straight games to close out the regular season. It will be interesting to see how much of a workload Edwards-Helaire takes on within the team’s backfield after missing extended time and with the other two backs enjoying success in his absence.

The other move is likewise not surprising. Hardman being placed on IR guarantees that he will not play in the Super Bowl, something which head coach Andy Reid recently indicated was the likely outcome in his situation. Kansas City suffered a slew of injuries at the receiver position in their AFC title game win over the Bengals, with Hardman reaggravating his pelvis injury suffered earlier in the year.

Fellow pass-catchers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kadarius Toney are in better shape as it relates to their potential availability for next week’s big game. The Chiefs are always in position to be dangerous through the air with quarterback Patrick Mahomes (who is, of course, nursing an ankle sprain of his own) and tight end Travis Kelce available. Still, the uncertainty they face at the WR position could be a key talking point over the course of the next few days.

Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire Returns To Practice

The Chiefs welcomed a pair of offensive players back to practice today. According to Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star (on Twitter), the Chiefs designated running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and tight end Jody Fortson for return. The team will now have 21 days to activate either player to the 53-man roster.

Edwards-Helaire hasn’t seen the field since November while dealing with a high-ankle sprain. At the time of his injury, CEH was already seeing a reduced role on offense, with rookie Isiah Pacheco and pass-catcher Jerick McKinnon soaking up many of the RB snaps. Even if Edwards-Helaire is good to go for the rest of the playoffs, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be anything more than the third running back on the depth chart.

The 2020 first-round pick has shown flashes during his brief career, including a rookie campaign that saw him finish with 1,100 yards from scrimmage. In 10 games (six starts) this season, the 23-year-old collected 453 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns.

“Anytime you get talented players back, it helps the whole team — not just the offense, but everybody,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said (via Teope). “To have that energy in the locker room again, to have it on the football field and both those guys are special-type players.”

Fortson suffered an elbow injury in Week 15 that shut him down for the rest of the regular season. The tight end had 108 yards and two touchdowns while playing behind Travis Kelce and Noah Gray on the depth chart.

Chiefs Place Clyde Edwards-Helaire On IR, Activate T Lucas Niang From PUP List

Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s third NFL season has skidded off track. In addition to losing his starting job recently, the former first-round pick suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday night.

The Chiefs will move forward without Edwards-Helaire in the near future, having placed him on IR. This will shut down CEH for at least four weeks. Kansas City had already changed the LSU alum’s role, though this certainly does impact the AFC West kingpins’ depth.

Coming into this season, Edwards-Helaire — thanks partially to Damien Williams‘ 2020 opt-out — had started every NFL game in which he played. But injuries led to the college dual threat missing 10 regular-season games and two playoff tilts. Edwards-Helaire then took a backseat to Jerick McKinnon upon returning from his second 2021 injury — a shoulder issue — in the postseason. CEH had already sustained an MCL sprain earlier in 2021; he missed time due to ankle and hip maladies in 2020.

McKinnon re-signed midway through this offseason, but the Chiefs have begun using seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco over both vets. Pacheco has totaled 31 carries over the Chiefs’ past two games. Edwards-Helaire was on the field for four offensive snaps during the Chiefs’ Week 10 win over the Jaguars, and his injury against the Chargers stands to set him back further.

The 5-foot-8 back has gained 302 rushing yards on 71 carries this season. While extended absences are not new for the former No. 32 overall pick, Pacheco’s presence has changed the Chiefs’ backfield equation. This injury also opens the door for Ronald Jones resurfacing. The offseason addition has not dressed for a game yet as a Chief but remains on their 53-man roster. Andy Reid said (via ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher) the former Buccaneers starter has a chance to play, though he cited multiple issues that may deter Jones from seeing a backfield role.

With CEH out and McKinnon having two full-season injury absences on his resume, the Chiefs suddenly may need Jones, whom they signed to a one-year, $1.5MM deal.

Additionally, the Chiefs activated Lucas Niang from the reserve/PUP list. The team’s right tackle to open last season, Niang suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in Week 17 of last season. The former third-round pick has not been available much during his KC career. He opted out of the 2020 season and has now missed 15 regular-season games since. The Chiefs have used veteran Andrew Wylie primarily at right tackle this year. Niang, who made nine starts as a rookie, could potentially make a late-season push for playing time on the Chiefs’ otherwise-solidified front.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/27/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: OL Keenan Forbes, G Eric Wilson

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions, including a handful of notable names landing on the physically unable to perform list and the non-football injury list as teams open up camp:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released with NFI designation: WR Cody Core

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire Out For WC Game

When they begin their playoff journey to try and repeat as AFC champions, the Chiefs will still be without their top running back. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Field Yates, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out for Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Steelers. 

Edwards-Helaire is still dealing with the shoulder injury that he sustained in Week 16 against those very same Steelers. As a result, he missed the Chiefs’ loss to the Bengals the following week – an outcome which essentially ended the team’s chances of finishing atop the AFC and receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs as a result.

He was absent in practice throughout the following week, meaning he was also sidelined for the team’s regular season finale, the win over Denver which solidified their position as the conference’s No. 2 seed. It also concluded his second career NFL regular season, which saw him appear in 10 games. Operating in a time-share with backup Darrel Williams for much of the year, the 2021 first rounder totalled 517 rushing yards on 119 carries (an average of 4.3 per rush) and four touchdowns. He also added 129 yards and another two majors in the passing game.

This news means Williams will again serve as the starter on Sunday. With by far the heaviest workload in his four-year career, the 26-year old has played in all 17 games in 2021, producing 1,010 scrimmage yards and eight total touchdowns. In the Week 16 win over Pittsburgh, Williams rushed 11 times for 55 yards, and made three catches for 30 yards. The Chiefs’ other options at the position will be veterans Derrick Gore and Jerick Mckinnon.

Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire Out For Week 18

When they try to get back the No. 1 seed in the AFC on Saturday, the Chiefs will be without their lead running back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out for Week 18 against the Broncos, per ESPSN’s Adam Teicher (via Twitter). 

Edwards-Helaire did not practice at all this week, meaning he will miss a second straight game. The shoulder injury he picked up in Week 16’s win over the Steelers kept him out for this past Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. The regular season finale will be the seventh game missed this year for the 2021 first round pick. In the 10 games he has appeared in, he’s totaled 517 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 119 carries (4.3 yards per attempt), along with 19 catches for 129 yards and another two scores.

The news means that Darrel Williams will once again be the starter for the Chiefs. In his fourth season in Kansas City – by far his most productive – Williams has recorded 541 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, as well as 422 yards and another two majors in the passing game. Having been activated from IR last week, veteran Jerick McKinnon will likely serve as the backup again.

In other injury news, starting right tackle Lucas Niang was placed on IR on Friday, which is another big blow to the Chiefs’ offense. On the other hand, Teicher reports that Head Coach Andy Reid believes starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. has a “good chance” to play on Saturday after being sidelined last week.

The only way the Chiefs can regain the top spot – and corresponding bye week for the first round of the playoffs – in the AFC is by winning against the Broncos and having the Texans upset the Titans. If both of those things don’t happen, there is a chance they fall all the way to the fourth seed, although a win over Denver alone guarantees them second spot.