With K.C. Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark now facing charges stemming from his arrest in May for felony possession of an illegal firearm, it only seems increasingly likely that Clark will now miss at least a little bit of time from suspension.
There’s probably about half, if not, more than half of the fanbase that already felt the defensive end room was thin even with Clark. Now that Clark may be missing time, a move for a free agent defensive end only seems right.
When speaking of potential free agent additions, there is one name that a lot of people don’t bring up that would actually make sense. Someone who has already played defensive end for the Chiefs before. No, not that one. Alex Okafor.
Alex Okafor played defensive end for the Chiefs for the last two years and even started in nine of the 21 games he appeared in. Over two seasons with the Chiefs, Okafor recorded 24 solo tackles, 6 TFL, 19 QB Hits, 2 FF, and 8 sacks.
The Chiefs voided the last year of Okafor’s contract shortly before the start of free agency which seemed to all but conclude Okafor’s time in Kansas City, but given the sudden change in circumstances and the other names still out there, Okafor is a name that could make the most sense.
Could the KC Chiefs bring back Alex Okafor?
First of all, Okafor has familiarity. We’ve already established that he played for Kansas City the past couple years so he knows the system. Sometimes I feel like that “knowing the system” is a bit of an overstated reasoning but I do think there’s some weight to that statement because defensive line coach Brendan Daly and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo run some very complicated stunts and packages that take some time to learn.
Secondly, Okafor when healthy has actually been pretty good. You have to turn back the page to the first 10 games of 2019 in which Okafor has 5 sacks in those first 10 games. Okafor also displayed some decent edge-setting ability and a surprisingly good pressure rate compared to his career mean.
Unfortunately, Okafor’s biggest problem and the likely reason his contract was voided is he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. In week 15 of 2019, he ended up sustaining a torn pec which knocked him out for the rest of the year. In 2020, Okafor was plagued by several soft-tissue injuries that only allowed him to play 11 games.
Okafor seemed to have found his footing again late in 2020 but it apparently wasn’t enough for the Chiefs to feel comfortable keeping him.
Once again, considering the circumstances, could the Chiefs come back around on Okafor? It might be a little bit of a desperation move given the team essentially told him he wasn’t good enough for them to honor the last year of his deal, but desperate times call for desperate measures and Okafor has had some time off to get healthy up to this point because he hasn’t signed with anyone yet.
If a move does happen, it probably come after something substantial happens with Clark or after the Chiefs really see what they have in their guys at training camp.