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Fresh start for D-line begins with moving on from Frank Clark

Pro bowl edge has $27.8 million cap hit in 2022

AP

On the outside looking in heading into the 2022 offseason, general manager Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs have decisions to make. Hoping for more production from the defensive line, Veach explained his offseason thought process during an extensive year-end zoom with local reporters.

“We have some you know work to do on the defensive side,” Veach said candidly.

Much maligned to start the year, Kansas City’s defense left much to be desired, ranking 30th in yards per play (5.9), 27th in yards per game (368.9) and 29th in sacks (31).

“On the defensive line we’ll have some decisions to make,” Veach continued.

No decision is more pertinent than what to do with defensive end Frank Clark and his reported $27.8 million cap hit the upcoming season.

Integral to the Chiefs Super Bowl-winning season in 2018, “The Shark” was mostly stagnant this past season. Hampered by lingering injuries to start the year, Clark finished with 4.5 sacks and 15 solo tackles, his lowest output since his rookie season in 2015.

“Kansas City is home,” Clark said following the AFC championship when asked about offseason uncertainty. “I bought a house here, my daughter goes to school here…I want to be here for the future for the rest of my career.”

Toting one of the largest cap hits in the league entering 2022, Clark and Veach both know business must meet production sooner rather than later. While some believe Clark could take a pay cut to remain a Chief, Kansas City might ultimately better served cutting bait with ‘The Shark’ and spreading the wealth.

According to Spotrac, cutting Clark before June 1, 2022, would save the Chiefs nearly $19.8 million against the cap in the upcoming year while spreading the remaining $13 million in dead cap over the next two seasons — welcomed relief for a team looking to make the dollar stretch.

“Not having a ton of cap space every year and not picking in the top 10… It’s hard,” Veach added on the team’s flexibility to add defensive pieces.

Clark’s cut could open some room.

“Unfortunately the way business goes,” Clark continued post-AFC title game. “Things don’t happen the way you want to happen all the time.”

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