The importance of keeping Dexter McCluster

Joe Robbins

Chronically underrated, McCluster would be a big loss to the Chiefs if he leaves.

All of the talk heading into this offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs has revolved around finding a safety, adding a receiver and extending the contracts of Alex Smith, Eric Berry and Justin Houston.

While all those things are of great import, the one man being overlooked is its smallest in stature: Dexter McCluster.

McCluster is coming off the best season of his four-year career. The former Ole Miss star racked up 53 receptions for 511 yards and two touchdowns. On special teams, McCluster added 686 yards on punt returns, the fourth-highest single-season total in NFL history.

In each of his four seasons, McCluster's receiving yardage has increased and after only playing 11 games his rookie season, the diminutive speedster has only missed one contest over the past three years. In 2013, McCluster made his first All-Pro team and Pro Bowl as a returner, validating his spot as one of the best at his position.

Yet, McCluster is overlooked around these parts by many, saying he isn't worth an investment long-term. I completely disagree.

McCluster is a huge factor for Kansas City, giving teams one more weapon to prepare for both on offense and returns. All told, McCluster combined for 1,205 total yards, only eclipsed by Jamaal Charles. That type if production is not easy to replace and can't be overlooked.

For the offense, his impact is multifaceted. McCluster is a solid option on third down and a mismatch for any linebacker with his blinding quickness. Additionally, McCluster changes field position so often by making a few men miss and gaining 15 or 20 yards to set up Smith and co.

Special teams coach Dave Toub has plenty to do with the success of the return units, but McCluster is a special talent. He can make space out of nothing with quick feet and good vision, two things even Toub can't teach. To think the Chiefs can bring in some random guy off the street and get that ability is crazy.

I'm not saying Kansas City should be paying McCluster a massive sum of money. However, if the Chiefs can get him on a deal that pays out around $3 million per year, that is something which should happen.

It is not good business to let talent walk out the door if it can be prevented. In some cases, like Branden Albert, you might have a cheaper, capable solution behind him. With McCluster, that isn't the deal.

Don't sleep on Mr. McCluster, he's much more important than many realize.

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