The Kansas City Chiefs won 10 of the 11 games they played without star running back Jamaal Charles in 2015, with younger backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware rushing for a combined 1,037 yards in 11 starts (4.5 yards per carry).
Considering that we have proof the Chiefs can be very successful without Charles and that he is 29 years old with a less-than-ideal injury history, it’s fair to wonder if he’s worth his $5.8 million salary.
Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is thinking not.
“The conversation is, ‘Why does Kansas City keep Jamaal Charles when you saw Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West? For what reason?’” Faulk said recently, per the Kansas City Star. “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.”
“I love Jamaal, and I think he could find another home,” he added. “I think there’s a lot left in him. But looking at what went on when he went down in Kansas City, are his days possibly numbered there?”
The Chiefs are projected to have nearly $33 million in salary cap space, but they have a ton of defensive free agents to take care of. Pro Football Focus rated Justin Houston as the team’s best defender in 2015, but the next six guys listed are all slated to hit free agency. Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson aren’t spring chickens, but they’re still key contributors and leaders, and Eric Berry, Jaye Howard and Sean Smith will be expensive.
If the Chiefs risk losing any of those guys due to cap constraints, they should strongly consider saving themselves $5.3 million by waving goodbye to an aging, injury-prone and replaceable player at a devalued position.