When the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2021-22 season officially ends, all eyes will be on how they manage their roster during the offseason.
While acquiring different types of talent on offense should be in the cards for a Chiefs squad that changed their offensive philosophy a bit this season, adding defensive talent is of the utmost importance as well. One position, in particular, that could use some overhaul is the defensive line, specifically on the edge.
That’s why Kansas City is being linked to one of the biggest free-agent pass rushers in the 2022 free-agent class.
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Chiefs: Dump Clark, Sign Jones
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones is slated to become a free agent this offseason at the age of 31. While his age might deter you from wanting to sign him, he’s coming off a season in which he recorded 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and six forced fumbles, per Pro Football Reference. So father time hasn’t caught up to him just yet.
Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson wrote about four potential landings spots for the future Hall of Fame defender that has recorded 107.5 sacks in his 10-year career. One of the teams Robinson listed as a potential spot for Jones is the Chiefs, who could free up enough cap space by cutting ties with defensive end Frank Clark to bring in Jones. As Robinson notes, cutting Clark pre-June 1 would free up $19.5 million in cap space while incurring only $6.8 million in dead money.
“With Clark out of the picture, the Chiefs will need to realign their defensive front,” Robinson wrote. “Alex Okafor will also likely be gone, but I’d expect Kansas City to work out a new deal with midseason trade acquisition Melvin Ingram. Still, that leaves one open defensive end spot, assuming the Chiefs don’t want to move Chris Jones to the edge again. KC would arguably give Chandler Jones his best chance to win the second Super Bowl of his decorated career.”
Would Jones to KC Really Make Sense?
Kansas City will roll over roughly $1.3 million in cap space to its 2022 league year cap amount, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Tack that onto the roughly $27 million they are expected to have for next season, per OverTheCap, and the Chiefs will have about $28.5 million in cap space available to spend this upcoming offseason.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Jones earn a short-term contract in the $15 million/year range in 2022, which would be more than half of Kansas City’s cap space for the season. However, that number could be diluted with a multi-year contract. But it all depends on the logistics of the deal, and how long the Chiefs would want to be tied to a defensive end in his 30s. As Robinson mentioned, cutting Clark would free up ample cap room to bring in someone like Jones as well, which would make a potential contract like Jones’ much easier to take on for the Chiefs.
Overall, the addition of Jones would be beneficial to any NFL team, let alone Kansas City. But seeing that the Chiefs have been dealing with a cap casualty in Clark, general manager Brett Veach may be reluctant to bring in another high-paying pass-rusher, even if he were to cut ties with Clark this upcoming offseason. Going a bit more economical at the position, whether it be through the draft or free agency, seems like the better route to go.
However, if Kansas City can somehow bring in Jones while also acquiring/retaining valued talent on both sides of the football and not be in cap purgatory, then all the power to them.