Updated: Jun 28
The Kansas City Chiefs have found a solid, reliable running back in Isiah Pacheco. They also had another solid amount of playoff production from Jerick McKinnon. But before Pacheco began to take off and McKinnon shined in the playoffs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the top running back in the draft following their 2019 Super Bowl win.
After declining in both his health and stats, CEH could be on the chopping block considering he did not play in Super Bowl 57. CEH still has plenty of potential but someone has to take a chance on him considering he has been a part of two Super Bowl rosters. So where will CEH end up in 2023? Is there a team willing to give him primary back status? Let’s discuss this.
Chiefs Should Trade CEH
While the Chiefs do not have a huge incentive by releasing CEH, he still has some value. Designating CEH as a post-June 1 cut saves the Chiefs essentially nothing in cap space. However, trading CEH post-June 1 saves them just over $2 million which is better than nothing. The only way a trade happens is if the Chiefs decline his fifth-year option which should happen sooner rather than later. CEH was not even apart of the Super Bowl parade celebration signaling some kind of turmoil with the Chiefs overall.
Realistically, the Chiefs could get a mid-second-round pick which could help them draft depth wherever needed. CEH is not going to command a trade that a starting back would get, not even close. However, the Chiefs could still find something there that will help them retain their investment in him. CEH is worthy of a team primed for Super Bowl runs but maybe trading him is the only answer now.
Out Of The Box Trade Destinations
First up, we have the Dallas Cowboys. This trade situation is all depending on if Ezekiel Elliott is still in Dallas next season. If he is gone, the Cowboys could trade their second and third-round picks to pick up CEH. While he might not be the starting back, backing up Pollard would give Dallas some depth in their running back room.
Dallas can save $10.9 million if they designate Elliott as a post-June 1 cut. CEH does not need a huge deal and could play on a one or two-year deal for cheap to prove himself. Clyde has plenty left in the tank considering he is only three years into his career. If Dallas is willing to give it a shot, he could prove useful as their backup running back who has Super Bowl experience.
New Orleans Saints
Next, we have the New Orleans Saints who are a bit more realistic than the Cowboys. The Saints might have dropped a big bag on Derek Carr but they still have cap space to play with. If Alvin Kamara’s off-the-field issues force him to miss time, the Saints need someone to step up. Eno Benjamin and Dwayne Washington are not the guys to put in as the feature-backs.
Therefore, trading for CEH gives the Saints someone who has plenty of experience in the NFL, the playoffs, two Super Bowl rings, and plenty of skill. If Kamara is out, CEH would step into the starting role immediately. New Orleans has an early second-round pick at 40th overall that could be used as their trade piece to bring in CEH. New Orleans gets someone who provides depth at RB and the Chiefs get a solid return for the draft.
Final Thoughts/Realistic Team For CEH
Sure the Chiefs could save money by moving CEH but is it realistic? The truth here is no probably not. There’s little to no incentive and far too much effort to just simply give him that fifth-year and deal with his free agency period next offseason. The Chiefs could very well lose Kerick McKinnon to free agency as well this offseason and they need depth for their running back room.
The running back position might not be the most important with Mahomes at QB but it helps to have a legit RB room. If McKinnon is gone, CEH needs to be given that fifth year and prove he can still do something even if that means being the backup and taking fewer snaps. The Chiefs will likely focus on their offensive line this offseason but maybe ensuring the RB room is something that happens first. CEH might not be the lead running back anymore but maybe he deserves a little more time in KC to show he’s worth the draft pick and can help the Chiefs in another Super Bowl run in 2023.