KC Chiefs: Will Jamaal Charles Return to Team in 2017

Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images) /

It’s always hard to see a beloved player leave your favorite team. Unfortunately for fans of Jamaal Charles and the KC Chiefs, the time for that move may finally have come.

Since debuting in 2008, no one can argue that Jamaal Charles has consistently been one of the best players for the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s easy to conjure up memories of Charles making a game-changing play for the Chiefs.

Not only is Charles the career leader in rushing for the Chiefs, but he is also in fourth when it comes to the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per carry.

Charles’ hard work, determination, and ability is never in question. In the last two seasons, however, his health, or lack thereof, has become detrimental to the Chiefs.

If Charles was only competing against Father Time, I would be more apt to believe in his continued production.

In 2015, Jamaal Charles suffered his second torn ACL of his career in a game against the Chicago Bears. After rehabbing last offseason and returning to the team in 2016, it became clear very quickly that Charles was still not healthy.

Ultimately, Charles would only play in three games for the 2016 season before being placed on injured reserve. The reason being he needed a second procedure to clean up his meniscus.

Can Jamaal Charles Still Make an Impact?

Early in his career, I would have no qualms about Jamaal Charles coming back from injury. We all saw it firsthand when he had an ACL injury in 2011 and then was the only noteworthy player on the Chiefs offense in 2012, rushing for over 1,000 yards.

Now, however, there is definitely reason to doubt.

First and foremost, Charles will turn 31 this season. It’s well documented that running backs tend to see their skills fall off dramatically once they pass 30.

If Charles was only competing against Father Time, I would be more apt to believe in his continued production. When you account for his attempting to return from injury, suspending disbelief becomes more difficult.

More from KC Kingdom

Also, part of what has made Charles special is his combination of speed and shiftiness. If he does return, is it realistic to expect him to resume his prior level of production?

At 5′ 11″ and 199 pounds, Charles has never been a pound-it-through the tackles kind of player. If Charles finds his burst is gone, it’s unlikely he would have a role in the KC Chiefs offense.

What Will It Take For Charles to Remain in KC?

I only see one way in which Jamaal Charles remains a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in this, his contract season. That is by taking a pay cut with an incentives-laden contract to remain in Kansas City.

As things stand, Charles is set to earn a salary of over $6 million in 2017, according to Over the Cap, which you can see below.

With the Chiefs struggling to find room under the cap to re-sign both Eric Berry and Dontari Poe, that $6 million could make a difference. Add in the fact that there is no dead money allotted to Charles should he be cut and the writing on the wall becomes clear.

Over the past year, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have proven that they are not adequate replacements for Jamaal Charles in the Chiefs offense.

At this point, it’s unlikely that Jamaal Charles could bring the same spark to the offense that he once did. With backs like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey available in the Draft, it may be time to bid adieu to Jamaal Charles as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Next: Jamaal Charles Top Ten Games of All-Time

Never fear though, Chiefs Kingdom. If this move occurs, it’s a guarantee that you will see Jamaal Charles at Arrowhead Stadium again when he take his rightful place in the Chiefs Ring of Honor.

KC Kingdom, what say you?  Should the Chiefs cut Jamaal Charles, bring him back at a reduced salary, or make no changes at all?