December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) scores a 71-yard touchdown against Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the third quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Will Kansas City Chiefs Running Back Jamaal Charles Hold Out in 2014?

Something has been bugging me for awhile about Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. A couple of weeks ago, he did an interview with Danny Parkins at 610 Sports in Kansas City. The final question of that interview, Parkins asked Charles if he was happy with his current contract.

I won’t speak on contract stuff. I’m happy being a Chief and I want to retire as a Chief. I just go out an play football. – Jamaal Charles

As I listened to the interview, Charles sounded a bit put off by the question. And that got me thinking. What if Charles is planning on holding out this season?

I’m not trying to start a fire or give you a “the sky is falling” scenario, but there’s the distinct possibility that Charles could demand a new contract. I took a look at what Charles is scheduled to make this year, and it doesn’t give me any kind of good feeling.

In 2011, Charles signed a five-year deal worth $27 million. That deal included a $6.7 million signing bonus, an annual $250,000 workout bonus as well as a $1 million roster bonus after 2013. $18.1 million of the contract was guaranteed money, most of which Charles has already received. Does that seem like a lot? He’s not even in the top ten in the league. I did a quick check of other running backs who have current contracts. What I found made my stomach turn.

In 2012, the Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson signed a seven-year $100 million contract with $36 million in guaranteed money making him the highest paid player in that position. The oft-injured Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders inked a six-year $60 million with $26 million guaranteed money in 2008 which will expire this year. Finally, the pint-sized Super Bowl XLVII Champion running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens signed a new four-year $40 million with $24 million guaranteed in 2012. All of these backs — and a whole lot more — make more money than Charles, yet he’s a much better player than them, at least in 2014.

Charles was arguably the best — though the NFL and Associated Press said second best — offensive player in the league this year. He tallied 19 total touchdowns and finished the year just 20 yards shy of 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in both the rushing and passing game. Adding a Pro-Bowl appearance and being voted at the NFL’s Fantasy Player of the Year just ups his stock. To say he doesn’t deserve the pay check is ludicrous. However, he couldn’t have picked a worse year to have his break out season.

With the Chiefs sitting in cap hell, there will be hardly room in the budget to pay players who general manager John Dorsey wants to bring back and draft picks. As it is, the Chiefs will barely make a ripple in free agent — in huge contrast to the splash they made last year. There is absolutely no money to pay players already under contract.

I’m hoping that Charles believes in the “family” mantra the Chiefs locker room touted all last season. He said he wants to retire a Chief and play football, so hopefully he can put his money where his mouth is…or something like that.

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