With the NFL Draft swiftly approaching, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke to members of the media on Thursday afternoon, discussing a variety of topics — including the uncertainty surrounding two Kansas City running backs..
He first addressed with the upcoming fifth-year option for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The 24-year-old back was the last player selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The team only has until May 2 — a week from Tuesday — to decide whether the Chiefs will keep him for the 2024 season, in which the running back would carry a cap hit of $5.5 million.
“We have some time here, so we’ll see,” Veach said of the team’s decision. “I just think we’ll go through the draft.”
The explosive running back out of Louisiana State University was expected to be a mainstay in the Chiefs’ high-powered offense for years to come. But a combination of injuries, a lack of progression (and better options becoming available) led to his rushing yards decreasing in each of his three years with the team, culminating in a career-low 302 rushing yards in 2022. Edwards-Helaire’s long-term future with the team is now in question.
“I don’t think we’ve reached a decision on anything yet,” continued Veach. “But [it’s] safe to say that once we get through the draft, we’ll look at our board and look at our offseason business that we have to attend to — some different players and contract stuff — and we’ll handle all that after the draft.”
Veach also talked about the status of running back Jerick McKinnon. The veteran back formed a dynamic duo with rookie Isiah Pacheco last season, acting as the lightning to the rookie’s hard-hitting thunder.
Specifically, McKinnon’s excellence in the passing game was on full display as he finished the regular season with an amazing stretch of six consecutive games with at least one receiving touchdown.
“Yeah, I think there have been some talks with Jerick,” Veach said of the free agent’s status. “He’s certainly a guy that we love and greatly admire. I think this falls [in] a similar trajectory [to] last year — where I think Jerick just likes to take his time and make sure that he’s ready to go both physically and mentally. I think the timeline last year was right after the draft [when] we were able to get with him.
“And so I think once we get past next weekend, I think we’ll double up with a lot of these guys that might still have a chance to be on this roster.”