Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is a big fan of Jamaal Charles, but the business side of football could result in an unexpected twist for the Kansas City Chiefs star.
Faulk suggested the Chiefs should move on from Charles if financially able because his replacements, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, carried the backfield nicely after a right ACL tear ended Charles’ 2015 season. According to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star, Faulk said:
“The conversation is, ‘Why does Kansas City keep Jamaal Charles when you saw Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West? For what reason?’ I can’t even see what reason they would continue to pay (him) if they have a way of getting up from under that contract and dispersing money elsewhere to fill some of the gaps that they have. And that’s just real talk — that’s the business of the game.”
West and Ware, who combined for 10 regular-season starts, registered 989 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, adding 24 receptions for 230 yards. While not explosive, they were capable replacements at worst.
Per Dave Skretta of the Associated Press, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey briefly discussed Charles in late January. “Right now [Jamaal] is a Chief. Why wouldn’t he be?” Dorsey asked.
Well, perhaps Kansas City would move on from Charles because he’s torn the ACL in each knee and has no dead cap next season, per Spotrac. The franchise could save $5.3 million by cutting Charles and — like Faulk said — disperse that money elsewhere on the roster.
Although that wouldn’t be a popular — or necessarily the right — choice, it would be helpful for the Chiefs during the offseason.
Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry and Sean Smith are each set to enter free agency. According to OverTheCap, Kansas City has approximately $32.7 million to spend, and an extra $5.3 would allow the club to retain most, if not all, of those key contributors.
In short, it’s easier to replace Charles with somewhat-proven backups than a pass-rusher or standout defensive back.
The Chiefs shouldn’t rush to part Charles, a versatile back who tallied 5,049 total yards and 39 touchdowns from 2012-14. Financially, though, cutting ties wouldn’t be an unreasonable decision.