NFL's unpredictability for Charles Omenihu's suspension causes problems for Chiefs

Timing is everything for this Chiefs pass rush.
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

It was midway through the 2022 NFL regular season that the Kansas City Chiefs found out what the punishment was going to be for pass rusher Frank Clark. He'd been arrested on a felony charge for possession of a deadly weapon (cue the significant number of Uzi jokes made at the time), and the league was going to respond at some point for violating the Personal Conduct Policy, as laid out in the collective bargaining agreement.

Coming into the season, the cloud around Clark's potential punishment hovered overhead like a frustrating cloud, but when the season began without any fine or suspension, fans had to wonder if maybe the issue would magically go away.

Then came the suspension.

News from the commissioner's office announced the two-game suspension for Clark after the Chiefs were already 5-2. It was nearly Halloween by the time the Chiefs were going to figure out how to adjust their roster accordingly, knowing one of their primary pass rushers was going to be pulled from 12 percent of the season's contests.

In the end, everything went okay. The Chiefs squeaked by the Tennessee Titans and took care of the Jacksonville Jaguars as Clark went punished through a softer section of the schedule. But looking back, the unpredictability of it all was silly and uncalled for. Now the Chiefs might be facing it again.

A suspension is coming for Charles Omenihu. The only question is when the punishment will be levied.

This offseason, Charles Omenihu left the San Francisco 49ers for a two-year deal with the Chiefs. He's the big addition slated to play a major role up front as the Chiefs ask him to play starter's reps for the first time in his young career after showing promise for more production as a rotational part for the Niners.

In the wake of Clark's departure this offseason to the Denver Broncos, Omenihu will fill in as the likely starter opposite George Karlaftis. But the problem is wondering when another suspension might take him away from the field as well.

Back in January, Omenihu and his girlfriend were in an altercation and he allegedly pushed her down. Misdemeanor charges were filed and a protective order was put into place. On top of the legal concerns, it was also clear the league was eventually going to punish Omenihu because that's what happens in these situations.

The problem here is not that Omenihu will be punished. The Chiefs knew of the domestic violence charges hanging overhead well before they signed him, so clearly the front office and coaching staff signed off on the addition knowing he'd likely miss some time due to suspension. But instead of being abel to prepare for his absence ahead of time, the league is playing the same game once again.

Will the NFL keep Omenihu out for the first few games of the year? Will they wait until a random section of the schedule once again? It makes a big difference.

First, the Chiefs schedule goes from fine to formidable depending on which half you're referring to. The front nine, so to speak, could feature the Chiefs remaining undefeated, but the latter half features one tough contender after another including big contests against the Eagles, Bills, and Bengals—perhaps the league's three toughest teams other than K.C.

Second, if Omenihu misses time on the front end, then that places even more pressure on first-round pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah to be ready early at a position that notoriously requires time and experience to learn it. Remember that it wasn't until the second half of his rookie year that Karlaftis came on strong. Dee Ford needed far more time than that to flash what he could do. Omenihu's value is at its highest early on.

If the Chiefs knew about the timing, they could respond accordingly and perhaps make a veteran signing—maybe bringing back Carlos Dunlap—to provide greater security to start the year if the suspension were coming in Week 1. As of this point, however, there's no real way to know how to prepare because the league is so willy-nilly on these things.