Kansas City Chiefs: What to do with Jamaal Charles?

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Running back Jamaal Charles
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Running back Jamaal Charles /

The Kansas City Chiefs have to make a decision on Jamaal Charles, who has $7 million remaining on his contract for the 2017 season.

Kansas City general manager John Dorsey has to make some very hard decisions this offseason. We all know about Dontari Poe and Eric Berry being slated to hit free agency, but other choices loom as well. Perhaps none bigger than the fate of Jamaal Charles, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

Charles, 30, is coming off three consecutive knee surgeries, only having played in seven games over the past two seasons. He’s due $7 million this year, and would not have any dead money should Dorsey decide to release him. There’s a case to be made that cutting Charles is the easy answer, saving $7 million against the cap in a year when space is at a premium.

However, there might be another, more compelling case. Dorsey could go to Charles’ representatives and offer a contract restructure. It would make ample sense for both sides to offer Charles a one-year extension, making the deal something along the lines of two years and $8 million with $2 million guaranteed. The Chiefs could make his cap hit that guaranteed figure ($2 million), saving $5 million in the process. Then, for 2018, he would have a $6 million hit that could be erased if the team releases him.

Charles might be enticed by something in that ballpark. Why? Because he’s 30 years old and hasn’t done anything in a year and a half. In this case, he gets a few million dollars and a chance to prove himself on a Super Bowl contender.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are taking a flier on a generational talent for $2 million. If he flops, the cost is minimal. If he has one more great year in him, Kansas City adds a major weapon on a team only inches away from a championship. It’s a win-win for both sides.