Perhaps, at some point the past few weeks, Jamaal Charles realized what everyone else knew long ago: Without their dynamic tailback, the Chiefs' offense is sunk.
Presumably believing he has leverage, Charles reportedly plans to hold out of Chiefs camp as he seeks a new contract. CBS Kansas City reported that Charles planned to hold out, and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed that Charles won't be at camp, believing he outplayed his current deal.
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Unlike some other possible holdouts, Charles holds a lot of the cards here. He's absolutely right that he has outplayed his deal, and his importance to the Chiefs' offense can't be overstated.
In 2010 the Chiefs signed Charles to a five-year, $32.5 million deal. By now, with two years left on the deal, his $2.65 million salary looks really out of line with what one of the NFL's best running backs should make.
Charles had 1,287 rushing yards, 693 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns for the Chiefs last season. Nobody else on the Chiefs scored more than five touchdowns or had more than 673 yards from scrimmage last season. Charles wasn't just the best player on Kansas City's offense, he was practically the entire offense. Charles seems to know that.
The Chiefs didn't really spend any money this offseason, so they can probably afford an extension that the 27-year-old Charles deserves. It's always risky to give a running back a big deal this far into his career, but are the Chiefs really prepared to play a game of chicken with their most important player?
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