Chiefs rumors: Jamaal Charles receives “limited interest” in free agency
By Matt Conner
As Jamaal Charles faces the free agent market and the competition that comes with it, he’s finding “little interest” as a veteran running back. He’s also not the only one with this problem.
Bring up Jamaal Charles’ name with fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and images will spring to mind of 91-yard runs and 5 touchdown performances. For the rest of the NFL, however, the primary focus is on an aging veteran coming off of yet another season-ending injury.
Charles is apparently finding “limited interest” in the early days of his free agency. As a player who was recently released, Charles is free to sign with any team right now instead of waiting for free agency to hit on March 9. There’s no tampering or waiver period. Twitter could light up at any time with a photo of Charles signing a new contract next to brand new executives in some front office somewhere. Instead, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says that Charles is being treated like most veteran running backs are treated these days. He’s not the only one.
Adrian Peterson, another franchise icon, was also cut loose on the same day as Charles but is also finding a hard time landing a new spot. Teams are likely waiting to see how the draft shakes out rather than spend some level on investment on a veteran back. If a team can wait three months to see if they really need a guy like Charles, then they will do it, especially as Charles is not even healthy yet.
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While it might feel weird in many ways for Charles to not have suitors fighting over him, the reality is that the Chiefs moved on for a reason. There will be days ahead where the franchise can bestow upon him numerous honors and a permanent spot in their team Hall of Fame, but a focus on the present brings bad news for Charles. It could be a long waiting game for Charles at this stage, perhaps even into August, as teams wait and see about his health and how their own depth charts shake out before asking him to come aboard.
The Eagles have added some smoke to the situation, and a reunion with Doug Pederson, Charles’ former offensive coordinator with the Chiefs, makes a solid guess as Charles next home, but the Eagles have yet to put their money where their mouth is. If they really wanted to secure Charles’ services for 2017 and even beyond, they’re certainly giving any other franchise the chance to beat them to it.
There’s no way of knowing where Charles will land next season, but at this stage, the best comparison is Arian Foster. The Houston Texans released Foster last March, a fan favorite and great rusher whose injury issues became cost-prohibitive to the team. Houston cut Foster and saved $6.6 million in cap space in early March. He didn’t sign with a new team until mid-July, a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Miami Dolphins. He retired from football just three months later.
The scenario sounds eerily similar to Charles in terms of age, health, timing and possible contract for next season. That’s not to say Charles will be out of football some point soon, but it does mean he’s likely to only get a one-year deal laden with incentives. There’s simply too much risk and competition at this point for Charles to receive otherwise. It is, after all, why there’s only “limited interest.”