Chiefs Should Trade Away This Pro Bowl Defender

June 6, 2022

The Chiefs began overhauling their roster in 2021 by replacing the entire offensive line. This offseason we witnessed both the wide receiver and defensive back rooms being rebuilt. Next on the list of priorities should be the defensive line. While Chris Jones has had his struggles in the playoffs, he is still a top 3 defensive tackle in the NFL, but he needs help. Adding George Karlaftis at the end of the first round may be an incredible move but more changes still need to be made. That starts with moving on from Frank Clark.

It is true that for 2022, Frank Clark agreed to restructure his contract to stay with the Chiefs. However, his 2023 salary is still the same. It is a near guarantee that Clark won’t be with the team next year unless he signs back for a smaller number after being released. Frank Clark has a total of 18.5 sacks in his three years with the Chiefs, and almost half of those came in his first season with the team. Meaning he has given little to no production for the team in the regular season. So why not cut the cord early?

Sure, There Are Reasons for Clark to Stay With the Chiefs

So before we get into why Frank Clark should be cut, let’s look at arguments for why he should stay. The most obvious one I’ve already mentioned; Clark agreed to a restructured contract that helped the team with cap space. Cutting him would now result in dead money. Even if the Chiefs do cut him, Clark will still get paid and will likely go play for another team. Even if his production isn’t ideal he knows the system and there aren’t any better options currently on the market.

The other reason to keep Frank Clark around is his veteran presence. The Chiefs’ defense is significantly younger than it was last year, so having veteran leaders who can help the younger players develop is critical. Even if his role is reduced, Clark can still help guide the younger players. That may be the single biggest reason why Clark wasn’t cut this offseason.

Frank Clark has had his moments with the team. Chiefs fans can remember the 2020 playoffs where Clark had 5 sacks and was crucial to the team’s win in the Super Bowl. At times Frank Clark is unstoppable, but then in the same game you get plays like this:

With Reasons To Keep Him, Here’s Why the Chiefs Shouldn’t

Now that we’ve mentioned some reasons Frank Clark shouldn’t be cut, let’s move on to why he should be released. The clearest reason is to see what the team has in their younger players. George Karlaftis, Joshua Kaindoh, Mike Danna, Malik Herring, and Austin Edwards are all under the age of 25 with something to prove. It is possible that none of them will be better than Clark, but if the defensive line overhaul is coming next offseason then you need to know who is worth keeping.

Karlaftis is the only player from that list who is almost guaranteed a spot on the roster over the next several years. If just one other player from that list emerges then it is a massive success for the Chiefs. Not to mention replacing Clark’s 4.5 sacks and 4 TFL in 2021 shouldn’t be an issue. On top of that, as a unit, the defense ranked 29th in sacks and 30th in TFLs according to Statmuse. It would be hard for the defensive line to be worse than it was last season.

Finally, if the Chiefs move on from Clark now then there may still be some trade value. If the Chiefs agreed to pay some of Clark’s salary then it may entice some teams. A late-round pick would be better than nothing, but the real value comes by bundling Clark with draft capital in order to get another player. If the Chiefs can add a player such as Montez Sweat, Josh Allen, or Danielle Hunter by packaging Clark and a 2nd round pick then the team should do that in an instant.

It’s more than likely Clark stays on the team for the 2022 season, but if so, that’s a mistake. That’s the case from an on-the-field perspective as well. There are even more off-the-field concerns with Clark that many could argue should have gotten him cut already. Regardless, it is extremely unlikely he will be on the team come 2023. So why not get whatever value you can out of him now? The Frank Clark experiment is over, and it’s time to move on.

Click here to read more about the Chiefs’ biggest weakness heading into the 2022 season.


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