It’s the end of an era for Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire….er, wait, can we even call it an era?
The Kansas City Chiefs’ marriage to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire soured toward the end, so it should come as no surprise that the two sides might be amicably divorcing.
KC have reportedly declined to pick up Edwards-Helaire’s fifth-year option and could part ways with him after the 2023 season.
The 2020 first-round pick burst onto the scene in Kansas City with 181 carries and 803 rushing yards along with 297 receiving yards. Unfortunately, a combination of factors (scheme fit, usage, injuries) led to Edwards-Helaire being slowly phased out in the last three years.
In 2022, he started a career-low six games and ceded his spot to 2022 rookie Isiah Pacheco by the season’s end. The Chiefs moving on from Edwards-Helaire next offseason feels all too obvious.
Fans shedding a tear or two over Edwards-Helaire’s exit can wipe their faces, because the franchise announced shortly after that they were re-signing the ever-versatile Jerick McKinnon.
Out with one running back, in with another.
Chiefs pull a double doozy: drop Clyde Edwards-Helaire and re-sign McKinnon
The team’s running back room for 2023 will likely consist of Pacheco and McKinnon taking the first two pole positions with padded depth behind them.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is technically still under contract with the Chiefs for the 2023 season, but now that the Chiefs have sealed his fate, what will become of the dual-threat back next year?
Kansas City could keep him around for extra insurance (and the occasional end zone production) or put him on the trade block and see if any teams will bite.
During Monday’s media session, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach blew some smoke in people’s faces when he spoke glowingly of Edwards-Helaire:
“We’re excited for Clyde. He’s actually the first guy I saw in the building today. He’s in tremendous shape. He’s going to help us out here…. We’re excited to have him back in the building today and look forward to hopefully a healthy 2023 campaign from him.”
Edwards-Helaire walking around the Chiefs building now will be….awkward.
Given Edwards-Helaire’s injury history and recent decline, if the Chiefs do decide to trade him, they probably wouldn’t receive much draft compensation in return. The Eagles just acquired Lions’ D’Andre Swift for a future fourth-rounder, and Swift, who was also battling injuries, nonetheless had a much more pronounced impact in the backfield last year.
The one thing that the Chiefs can take away from all of this is clarity. Pop, get ready to take the wheel.
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