These days, the phrase “questions about Frank Clark” are referring to something else entirely for the Kansas City Chiefs. The team’s best defensive end has had two separate arrests this offseason per reports around firearm possession, including one for which he was recently charged with a felony for possession of an assault weapon. Suffice it to say, Chiefs Kingdom has questions when it comes to Clark and his future with the team.
Even before the arrests, however, that was also true for the Chiefs. Clark is the single most expensive player in terms of salary cap hit in the National Football League of any non-quarterback (and his $25M cap hit is even more than nearly every QB, too). That total goes up one million in each of the next two seasons as well, making his contract nearly impossible to stomach.
Moving forward, the Chiefs already had concerns about edge rushers on the roster, and it was a bit surprising the Chiefs waited so long to address the position in the draft. However, the class was a bit weak and/or unpredictable at the position and K.C. used their picks to take care of other issues, so it’s hard to complain.
A 2022 mock draft has the Chiefs drafting an edge rusher in the first round.
Moving forward, the Chiefs have Clark’s crazy deal on the books for ’22 and not much else, which means that fans should expect the team to make a serious investment in the position moving forward. The only other defensive ends on the roster beyond this season are all developmental prospects, from Tim Ward and Malik Herring to Mike Danna and Josh Kaindoh—who was this year’s fourth round pick.
It’s far too early to think about the 2022 NFL Draft and any mock draft efforts, but Brent Sobleski from Bleacher Report admits as much in his “way too early” 2022 mock draft. What’s important here is that Sobleski has the Chiefs able to address the position at the bottom of the first round with the selection of Aidan Hutchinson from the University of Michigan at No. 32 overall. He writes:
"Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is a prototypical defensive end. A broken leg cut last season short for the 6’6″, 269-pound defender. But Hutchinson is a true three-down lineman with the power to consistently hold the point of attack and work through tackles in their pass set."
What the Chiefs are undoubtedly going to need is as pro-ready a prospect as they can get at that point to go with whoever begins to break out this season among the younger players as they hope for further options around Clark this year. Chris Jones will be experimenting with reps outside, too, but the cupboard just feels too bare to not project this sort of addition for the Chiefs.