The Chiefs defense was one of the worst in the NFL last year. The secondary is going to be an important part of the team’s success in 2017 and the Chiefs have several holes on the defensive line that they are going to need to address in free agency. The biggest needs are two-gapping defensive tackle, a linebacker who can cover and a pass rusher. The Chiefs do have a couple of free agent options in their back pocket, in Kendall Reyes and Jarvis Jenkins. I will be looking for the Chiefs to be aggressive this offseason.
The Chiefs have set themselves up for a major problem next season. Their roster has been decimated by injuries, suspensions, and free agency departures. They currently have 16 players under contract for the 2013 season and two spots open on their depth chart. The team will have to make decisions about roster spots, position competitions, and who will start next season.
Frank Clark’s situation is likely to worsen rather than improve, and that’s bad news for the Kansas City Chiefs. A team with relatively few weaknesses was suddenly faced with the prospect of losing its only reliable defender as Clark’s legal problems proved more serious than expected.
Frank Clark reacts after the Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54. Jamie Squire/Getty Images
LAPD stopped Clark’s car on the 20th. In June, agents found an Uzi submachine gun sticking out of a pants pocket in plain sight, ESPN reported. They arrested the sixth-year NFL quarterback on suspicion of possessing a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and authorities released him a day later after Clark paid a $35,000 bail.
The incident was Clark’s second gun-related arrest in the past three months. In March, Clark and a second man were stopped by California Highway Patrol agents, who later found two loaded handguns in the car.
That earlier arrest already seemed problematic for Clark’s status with the Chiefs, and now we know the extent of it. Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Clark Friday with possession of an assault weapon, the Kansas City Star reported. It’ll be on 14. Appearing in court in July, two weeks before the Chiefs’ training camp begins. If convicted, Clark faces up to three years in prison.
Clark’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said at the time of the arrest in June that the machine gun belonged to Clark’s bodyguard. This explanation, while not necessarily false, may not be convincing enough given that the weapon was found in the footballer’s car. Moreover, the situation gets worse when a second arrest results in a felony charge.
While the presumption of innocence applies in the American legal system, Commissioner Roger Goodell has no such restrictions. Remember, there were rumors all season that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is under investigation but has not been charged, will miss the entire 2021 season.
Clark spent his first four seasons in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks before transferring to Kansas City. He notched eight sacks in the regular season and another five in the playoffs during the Chiefs’ victory in Super Bowl 54. Last season he had six sacks in the regular season and three in the postseason.
Linebacker Chris Jones (7.5) was the only other Chiefs linebacker with more than three sacks in 2020, so losing Clark will be a concern. Taco Charlton, who played in seven games last year and had two sacks, is expected to battle with free agents Tershawn Wharton and Tim Ward for a place on the other side of the line. Now two of the three can become starters.
If Goodell imposes a penalty next season, the Chiefs will likely only need three or five games. A big investment in a free agent like Melvin Ingram isn’t an option if coach Andy Reid doesn’t mind moving Jones to the edge position more often than the Chiefs are already considering.
But bosses need to think longer term. Clark is facing two trials, one of which could result in a prison sentence that would take him out of the game for part or all of the 2022 season.
But equally important is the question of whether the Chiefs should be worried about Clark going to trial in the future. ESPN reports that police arrested him in 2014 on suspicion of domestic violence while he was at the University of Michigan. He eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Everything he is accused of in the two cases at hand is an unfounded accusation. But one can question Clark’s caution after he was arrested on weapons charges while on trial for another charge that had been filed just three months earlier.
All statistics are from Pro Football Reference.
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