Frank Clark keep Chiefs from having to worry about questions
By Matt Conner
Brett Veach moved heaven and earth to be able to bring in Frank Clark, but now he’s the one without any concerns or questions.
At the time, it didn’t make sense to many of us in Chiefs Kingdom.
When Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach decided to go to such tremendous lengths to bring in Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark, the whole endeavor just felt like overkill. Even for those who knew Clark as a devastating player, the sheer amount of roster turnover, the money involved, the long play itself to finally settle the roster—it was almost too much to take in.
Going back to the moment, let’s paint a quick picture:
- The Chiefs were coming off of a year in which they led the NFL in sacks (tied).
- Dee Ford, Chris Jones, and Justin Houston felt like a dependable trio which many teams would have loved to employ. It was the secondary that was so often scorned by fans and analysts alike.
- The Chiefs had also invested two consecutive high round picks in Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks in consecutive drafts. In other words, even if you thought the Chiefs might move on from one of those guys, the Chiefs still seemed well-stocked with prospects in a “next man up” league.
Despite all of this, Brett Veach made the front line a major focus for reinstalling his defense and, likely with Steve Spagnuolo whispering his wants along the way, Veach moved heaven and earth to get a new defensive cornerstone for the Chiefs. A new pass rushing cornerstone. A new pass rushing cornerstone on a team that led the NFL in sacks.
In the face of all that was familiar, Veach reached out for what he believed to be true instead—and it worked like a charm.
He sent Dee Ford packing in a trade. He released Justin Houston, and allowed Allen Bailey to walk without an offer. Just like that, he’d created enough money to then reinvest his new second round pick from the San Francisco 49ers along with his own first round pick in exchange for the rights to a player who needed a new contract—just like Ford. Then he also decided to pay him $105 million.
For those of us who at least thought that bringing in an outsider was the right move, what’s interesting is that Jadeveon Clowney sat there the entire time with the Houston Texans, seemingly available for much less. In fact, he still had a year to go on his contract. Acquiring him certainly wouldn’t have cost a first round pick from Veach.
In other words, Brett Veach picked the single most expensive toy available to him in the whole store and did whatever he had to do to get it. It’s easy to forget the incredible lengths to which Veach went to get his man. I think we also forget just how many of us were scratching our heads at the time.
These days, however, it’s amazing just how few concerns that Veach has. Compare this to the questions facing others.
Dee Ford wasn’t even sure if he would be active for the biggest game of his life—Super Bowl LIV—for the 49ers until the last second. Now the latest news on Ford is that he’s not having knee surgery this offseason. Chiefs fans will remember this carousel very well about Ford. Will he play or won’t he? During his entire final year, the off-the-charts production came with a shadow side, with fans wondering how much of it was about the contract year.
In Seattle, Jadeveon Clowney is now ready to face the market to get paid. There’s no doubt someone will pay, but Peter King wrote today, “Lots of pass-rush-needy teams asking about Jadeveon Clowney, worried about his inconsistency and injury history.”
Inconsistency and injuries. That’s exactly what was wrong with Ford and that’s what’s wrong with Clowney. Those are also two questions that do not concern the Chiefs whatsoever. Clark is incredible consistent in his non-stop efforts to get after the quarterback, and even when he is injured, he will play through great pain in order to be dependable for his teammates. (Remember Brett Veach said most players would have missed the first month with his neck injury but Clark played through it all.)
In the end, Veach paid a tremendous cost to avoid the headaches of inconsistency and injury—a sign he was not ready for another year of them in 2019. He was rewarded for his efforts in the end, as was Chiefs Kingdom, and now other franchises are forced to sit with the clouds that loom over other players.