Clyde Edwards-Helaire is now set to become a free agent after the 2023 season.
The decision is not entirely unexpected, given Edwards-Helaire’s production over the last two seasons and the rise of other running backs on the roster. The 32nd overall pick of the 2020 draft, Edwards-Helaire had 1,100 yards from scrimmage on 217 touches as a rookie. But injuries have limited him to just 20 games over the last two seasons. He had 646 yards from scrimmage with six TDs in 2021 and 453 yards on 88 touches in 2022.
If the Chiefs had picked up the option, they would have been on the hook to pay Edwards-Helaire a projected $5.461 million guaranteed in 2023.
General Manager Brett Veach did not directly say that the club was going to decline Edwards-Helaire’s option when asked about the running back on Monday. But he hinted this move might be coming.
“We’re excited though for Clyde this season,’’ Veach said in his video conference. “He was actually the first guy I saw in the building today, in tremendous shape.
“He’s a good football player. He’s going to help us out here, again, with these guys we have a list of things to do with a bunch of these guys and now that the draft is officially ended in the next coming weeks now’s the time we go through all that stuff and start making our plans for the future. But needless to say, we’re excited to have him back in the building today and look forward to hopefully a healthy 2023 campaign for him.”
Edwards-Helaire came off injured reserve in time for Super Bowl LVII but was inactive for the contest.
Even if Edwards-Helaire had not been injured in 2022, then-rookie Isiah Pacheco likely would have taken over as Kansas City’s starting running back. Jerick McKinnon, who the team agreed to re-sign on Monday, was second on the team with 10 total touchdowns.
Report: Chiefs decline Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fifth-year option originally appeared on Pro Football Talk