Frank Clark has been among the most consistent pass rushers in the NFL since the Seattle Seahawks made him a second-round pick back in 2015.
The West Virginia product will now hit free agency with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs set to release him for financial reasons.
Clark, 29, played an important role in the Chiefs’ run to the Super Bowl title this past season. Unfortunately, it was all about money. By moving off the high-priced edge rusher, Kansas City saves north of $20 million against the 2023 NFL salary cap.
These finances will not play a role in Clark’s market once he officially hits free agency. We’re talking about a three-time Pro Bowl performer with a track record of success on the field. Despite some off-field concerns, there isn’t going to be a limited number of teams interested in a player of his ilk. Below, we provide four ideal landing spots for Frank Clark in NFL free agency.
Atlanta Falcons get new defensive coordinator scheme fit
New Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen has worked under a 4-3 defensive scheme throughout his career. It has helped him get the most from defensive ends such as Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson in leading them with the New Orleans Saints.
Flush with the second-most cap room in the NFL, Atlanta will be active during NFL free agency. it also must find multiple edge rushers to improve a unit that recorded all of 21 sacks in 17 games last season. Clark would obviously fit that description.
- Frank Clark stats (2016-22): 125 QB hits, 63 tackles for loss, 55.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles
Being able to team Clark up with Grady Jarrett would be a boon for Atlanta’s defense. Even if he comes in at well over $13 million annually (perceived going rate), the Falcons should pounce without giving it a second thought.
Related: NFL salary cap tracker
Cleveland Browns replace Jadeveon Clowney
Clowney was an absolute clown show (we’re punny) last season in Cleveland. He recorded four quarterback hits and two sacks in 12 games opposite Myles Garrett. It got to the point that the former No. 1 pick and his team were at odds. The impending free agent is not going to be back in Cleveland.
New Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz runs a wide nine scheme that takes advantage of edge rushers in his 4-3 alignment. It’s an area that Clark has excelled in throughout his brilliant career. Teaming Clark up with Garrett would be ideal for Cleveland moving forward. But as with everything NFL-related, it’s about the salary cap. These Browns must clear some fat via releases and restructures to bring in someone of Clark’s ilk. We just absolutely love this fit.
Chicago Bears sign Frank Clark
Why would Chicago add a veteran pass rusher to the mix after trading away Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn over the past calendar year? Well, it’s simple. Defensive-minded head coach Matt Eberflus likes his own type of guys dating back to his days working with the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. Clark certainly fits the bill.
Boasting the most cap room heading into NFL free agency, Chicago can afford to pay Clark big bucks in hopes of helping improve a pass rush that recorded just 20 sacks a season ago. Heck, rookie safety Jaquan Brisker led the team in that category last season with four.
San Francisco 49ers get Nick Bosa a running partner
San Francisco has to worry about locking Bosa up on what would be a record-breaking contract extension this summer. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year recorded 48 QB hits and 18.5 sacks a season ago. Not another player currently under contract with the 49ers had more than three sacks.
If the 49ers are going to continue their dominating defensive ways under new coordinator Steve Wilks, they will need a running partner for Bosa.
Frank Clark is an ideal fit in that Wilks runs that very same front four scheme we mentioned above. His ability off the edge next to Bosa would also enable San Francisco to keep stud defensive lineman Arik Armstead inside while utilizing young edge guy Drake Jackson as a situational pass rusher. If the money fits, this makes perfect sense.