Defensive lineman Frank Clark’s tenure in Kansas City could be coming to an end this offseason, let’s break down who the Chiefs could bring in to potentially replace him.
With a 26.3 million dollar cap hit next to Frank Clark’s name and the Chiefs are looking to create as much cap space as possible this offseason. Now Clark could work with Kansas City and restructure his contract to save the Chiefs less than $12 million. But if they opt to head in a different direction and chose to release him they could be saving anywhere from $12.7 million to $19.5 million depending on when he is let go. Let’s dive into a couple of potential replacements for Clark if his time in Kansas City has indeed come to a close.
Trade Route: Josh Allen
This might be the fan-favorite by quite a margin to replace Frank Clark and it’s not quarterback Josh Allen. On February 4th, the Chiefs named Joe Cullen their new defensive line coach after Brendan Daly switched to man the linebackers. Cullen spent one season as the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville under former head coach Urban Meyer.
Cullen was one of the bright spots for the Jaguars during their forgettable 2021 NFL season, Josh Allen even vouched for his return. If the Chiefs are going to land pass rusher Josh Allen it will be through a trade similar to the Orlando Brown deal made last offseason. Jaguars receive a first, Chiefs get a second back and the two teams could swap third-rounders.
Kansas City could easily be in the market to move pick No. 30 because realistically, who could the Chiefs get at that slot that could make a Josh Allen impact, especially as a rookie. The one downside to acquiring Allen is that he’d be entering the final year of his rookie contract and he’ll eventually want to get paid.
Free Agent Route: Von Miller or Emmanuel Ogbah
Let’s start with Von Miller who is fresh off of winning his second Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams. After proving that he still has gas left in the tank and can be a valuable member of a defense he will be very sought after once the free agency period starts. It’s unlikely that the Chiefs will break the bank to sign the 32-year-old longtime Broncos linebacker if he is commanding top dollar money.
However, Miller had the opportunity to play against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in his first-ever career game back in 2017. Miller has said that he has often admired Mahomes from afar and it would be interesting if Mahomes could work some of his magic to potentially lure him to Kansas City.
Another name that could pop up on the Chiefs’ radar this offseason is Emmanuel Ogbah. He is a familiar face for Chiefs fans as he had a brief stint in Kansas City in 2019 before signing with the Miami Dolphins in free agency. During his 2-year tenure with the Dolphins, he recorded 18.0 sacks and 15 tackles for loss to go along with 83 total tackles. Compared to his time with the Chiefs when he had 5.5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss in his lone season.
A potential reunion with the Chiefs shouldn’t be out of the cards, especially with Kansas City’s desperate need for defensive line help. When compared to Miller, he will be a cheaper option and definitely could be signed for less money than other big-name defensive free agents like Harold Landry III, Randy Gregory, or Derek Barnett.
Draft Route: Cameron Thomas/ Boye Mafe/ Nik Bonitto/ Drake Jackson
Kansas City has endless options for what they want to do with their first-round draft selection in April’s NFL Draft. The outside world never really knows what the Chiefs do with their pick until Roger Goodell is reading off the name on the draft card. One of the hard things about trying to find an edge option for the Chiefs to select is just that you never know who will be available when their pick is up.
Cameron Thomas from San Diego State is 6’5″, 270 lbs and boasts almost an 80″ wingspan, and has shown flashes of rare athleticism for such a big frame. He could be an option that the Chiefs look at whenever they make their first-round selection. Boye Mafe out of Minnestoa is another name that is shooting up draft boards following his strong outing at the Senior Bowl. Made had 2 sacks and a forced fumble, if he follows it up with a strong week at the NFL Combine he could easily be picked in the first round.
The University of Oklahoma has produced two defensive line products that have made their name known in the upcoming draft. Although Perrion Winfrey is slotted as an interior defensive lineman he could be an interesting choice if the Chiefs choose to opt for someone with first-step quickness in his arsenal. The more likely of the two products the Chiefs could look into is EDGE Nik Bonitto. Bonitto brings a level of athleticism that can’t be taught and be a mainstay on the Chiefs defense for years to come.
The other Drake from the University of Southern California is EDGE Drake Jackson. Jackson who is only 20 years old but stands 6’4″ and weighs 250 is a quick, but physical threat. Following his 2020 season he was valued as one of the “top players in the nation” but his 2021 campaign wasn’t up to par with his previous year. This caused him to fall on draft boards but he still will have his name circled by several teams by the end of April. Jackson could be an intriguing option in the second or third round of the draft.