The Kansas City Chiefs and pass rusher Frank Clark agreed to restructure his contract on Monday, and he is slated to remain in Kansas City through the 2023 season.
Loosely, the terms of the deal make it a two-year contract worth $29 million with a chance to go up to $36M with incentives.
This news will be sour to some, as the rest of the league — and particularly the rest of the AFC West — has been hyperactive through the first phase of the offseason, while Brett Veach and the Chiefs front office has seemed inactive beyond the doors of their own building. Hopes for an Emmanuel Ogbah return and rumors of a Zadarius Smith signing had been circling in recent days, but although Ogbah is staying put in Miami and nothing else has happened.
However, Chiefs Kingdom should remain optimistic for what is to come in free agency.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Frank Clark were able to agree to a restructured deal
Take in this tweet from Matt Verderame, and let it digest for a moment.
If the Chiefs had decided to cut ties with Clark, his cap hit would have been an anchor down on the Chiefs free agency ship, one which could have otherwise sailed across the sea to the promise land of improvement for the pass rush. In restructuring, Kansas City, instead of eating some $26.5M, retains a member of the Super Bowl 54 core who has expressed a desire to finish his career at Arrowhead, creates cap space for the remainder of the offseason, and spends a mere $1.2M dollars above what would have been gone anyway to do so.
That is a deeply set silver lining, and could even be argued as grasping for straws. However, while one could claim that the extra million and change could have been spent elsewhere, signing someone else of equal value to Clark, in terms of production, would have cost far more than $1.2M. This isn’t to say that Clark’s production, particularly that of the time in which he was battling injury, is at all desireable. But shopping in the market of the tiers above present-day Frank Clark would have been highly unlikely had his cap hit been absorbed.
At this point, the Chiefs are still poised to nab a top-100 edge prospect in the draft this year, whether that be with pick number 30 or 62, and Clark’s experience will come of value to whomever that prospect may be. The restructuring also allows more room for spending in free agency at DE, which makes paying Smith and/or Melvin Ingram still possible.
If nothing else, the Chiefs retain the only Super Bowl winning defensive end in the AFC West. That experience, and the edge that we have seen him bring in the playoffs year after year, is invaluable. Say what you will about his age, his declined performance, or his injury prone nature, but he was a key piece in the original debut of “championship swagger” in Kansas City, and as we are quickly leaving the previous era behind, it is nice to have a piece of that culture with us for the next phase of Chiefs football.
If Frank Clark staying in Kansas City truly rubs you the wrong way, just hang on a short while longer. The official new league year begins on Wednesday at 4:00 EST, and you can rest assured that the Brett Veach and the rest of the personnel staff in Kansas City will not sit idly by as each of its closest competitors improve. Patience is truly a virtue.