Frank Clark might make a nice trade piece for the Chiefs but he’s out of reach

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 16: Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers is hit by Frank Clark #55 of the Seattle Seahawks during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 16: Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers is hit by Frank Clark #55 of the Seattle Seahawks during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Seattle Seahawks pass rusher Frank Clark might make an ideal trade target, but there’s no way the Chiefs can handle the PR aspect of it.

On paper, it completely makes sense. The Kansas City Chiefs could use a reliable, top-shelf pass rusher, and they have everything to make it happen. They have the money in the short and long-term. They have the positional need. They have the draft capital to properly compensate the Seattle Seahawks.

In real life, however, Frank Clark will likely never be a member of the Chiefs. That won’t stop draft analysts from reaching to put two and two together here.

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The Seahawks haven’t exactly tried to silence the rumors that their pass rusher could be available, having used the franchise tag on him earlier this offseason. For Clark’s end, he’s yet to sign the tender and rumors persist that he could hold out through training camp seeking a long-term deal. The Hawks might pony up the money and the commitment, but there’s at least some reticence there for one reason or another.

Given the Chiefs need for a pass rusher after the trade of Dee Ford and release of Justin Houston, Clark makes a lot of sense—or at least someone fitting his description. The Chiefs need someone other than Chris Jones who is a dependable disruptor, and Clark is exactly that. He’s averaged 11 sacks per year over the last three seasons, and had 13 of them alone last season.

It’s not as if linking Clark to the Chiefs is any sort of stretch. Daniel Jeremiah said as much today, and new Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu seemed to point to something with a subtweet.

If the Chiefs have the cap space, the need, and the draft assets to move back to Seattle to make it worth their while, what’s the holdup? The problem is Clark himself.

Seven years ago, as a college sophomore at the University of Michigan, Clark broke into the room of fellow student and stole a laptop. Two years later, he was kicked off the team entirely after being arrested for allegedly punching a woman in the face and picking her up before slamming her down. The full accounts are here, and neither party sounds innocent here, but it’s a major blemish on Clark’s resume, to be sure.

Since turning pro, Clark has kept a clean record, at least legally, but a brush with Natalie Weiner on Twitter certainly didn’t help engender further good will on his part.

Even if Clark has been a boy scout since entering the NFL, the Chiefs are in an very, very awkward position right now concerning player character and concerns. More than any other team, the Chiefs need to be sensitive about the imports on the current roster. They’ve simply allowed the scales to tip too far in the other direction to take on any further concerns right now.

The Chiefs are only months from having to release their star running back, Kareem Hunt, after a video was released via TMZ Sports that proved he’d been lying to the team about his involvement in an offseason assault. Currently the Chiefs are waiting on an investigation into alleged incidents of abuse at the home of wide receiver Tyreek Hill to play out. That’s two of the team’s four or five biggest players potentially involved in ugly off-the-field incidents. Even if Hill is cleared, this offseason serves as a reminder that his past is always hovering overhead—fair or not.

Just last month, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt gave the following statement to the press about the team’s philosophy of player acquisition:

"“Every general manager and head coach has their own philosophy on the type of players you bring in the locker room — and if they have problems in college, whether that’s something that the organization wants to take on,” Hunt said. “I think Andy throughout his career has been willing to give guys a second chance. I think you can ask Brett this, but my impression of working with Brett over the last year and a half is that he wants the guys to be pretty strong character guys coming out (of college).”"

It’s possible that there’s no subtext to Hunt’s comments, and that Veach is allowed to do what he wants. Maybe Reid and Veach can bring in Clark or anyone else with a spotty record without a need for approval from on high. But Hunt’s words feel like a statement of sorts, that there’s a preference for strong character right now given the very recent history of the Chiefs (and that they’re not quite out of the woods just yet with their biggest offensive threat not named Patrick Mahomes).

Are the Chiefs going to give up significant draft assets and pay around $20 million a year for a pass rusher with a record akin to Tyreek Hill or Kareem Hunt? (Read that again and ask yourself if it makes sense at all.)

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It’s very, very difficult to imagine that’s the case. Maybe if Clark was on a rookie deal and/or was available for a low-level draft pick and even then it would be a stretch. The fit might be great on paper, but real life is messy. Some players have earned a second chance, and they should be given it, but the Chiefs simply aren’t in a position to be the team bestowing that on very many guys right now.