After the Chiefs signed veteran running back Ronald Jones II, the running back room seemed full. The team chose not to bring back Darrel Williams, which seemed to solidify the future of the running back room. Then, in draft season, the team drafted Isaih Pacheco and signed Jerrion Ealy as an undrafted free agent. Even with five running backs in tow, a spot has now officially been given to last year’s playoff standout, Jerick McKinnon.
McKinnon is coming back to Kansas City on a one-year deal according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. McKinnon will likely be playing on another “salary cap friendly” deal. He might not have had a huge role in the regular season but he showed up big-time in the playoffs. Let’s break down why Jerick McKinnon was ultimately brought back for another year.
McKinnon Last Year For Chiefs: Regular Season Versus Playoffs
In the regular season, McKinnon only played 19 percent of the offensive snaps. He finished with only 62 rushing yards and 107 receiving yards. It became clear that McKinnon was serving a minimal role behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, and even Derrick Gore. The offensive scheme in the regular season did not have a need from him.
Fast forward to the playoffs and everything seemed to change. McKinnon became a key piece of the offense. It came as a bit of a surprise but he helped quite a bit. He would finish with 150 rushing yards and 165 receiving yards as well as a receiving touchdown. He averaged 108 total yards per game in three playoff games last season. The other three running backs on the roster had only 116 total yards combined in the same three games.
Why McKinnon Was Re-Signed By The Chiefs Ahead Of 2022
It is clear that the front office wants another veteran back to add to the depth chart. While Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones figure to get the bulk of the work out of the backfield, McKinnon could see a role as a third-down back like last season. His main role will be in the passing game out of the backfield. This was a huge role he had in the postseason last year and that will continue this year. The Chiefs valued a veteran presence in recent years with LeSean McCoy and Le’Veon Bell. McKinnon can provide that for the team as well.
The Chiefs offense is going to look a little different without Tyreek Hill so it makes perfect sense for the Chiefs to want as many weapons on offense as possible; especially weapons with some past exposure to the Reid offense. McKinnon might not be a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver but make no mistake he will impact this offense. I think this was a very strategic move to continue adding to this Chiefs offense.
What impact do you expect Jerick McKinnon to have on the Chiefs’ offense next season? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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