Jamaal Charles missed a large proportion of the 2015 regular season, and the Kansas City Chiefs' entire playoff run because he tore his ACL back in week five against the Chicago Bears.
After that game, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware took over duties in the backfield, and the Chiefs went 11-2 and to the playoffs. Not bad for a team that had just lost one of it's key players on offense.
However, considering what the Kansas City-based franchise was able to do without Charles, some are questions if the team actually needs the 29-year-old running back from beyond next season at all.
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The Chiefs finished sixth in the league in rushing, even without Charles, thanks to largely part of West's between-the-tackles running, Ware's strength and elusiveness, and Alex Smith's mobility. This is enough to convince former running back Marshall Faulk that the team no longer needs the four-time Pro Bowler.
He said, according to the Kansas City Star: "The conversation is, 'Why does Kansas City keep Jamaal Charles when you saw Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West? For what reason?' I can't even see what reason they would continue to pay (him) if they have a way of getting up from under that contract and dispersing money elsewhere to fill some of the gaps that they have. And that's just real talk -- that's the business of the game.
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"I love Jamaal, and I think he could find another home. I think there's a lot left in him. But looking at what went on when he went down in Kansas City, are his days possibly numbered there?"
Charles still has two years left on his contract, so if the Chiefs decided to call it a day with the running back, they would have a dead cap of around $5.3 million. However, according to Spotrac, the Chiefs have around $31 million in salary cap space without cutting Jamaal, so the reasons for letting him go would have to be strong, as he is a very talented player.
When healthy, the four-time Pro Bowler is able to run for at least 1,000 yards per season and score at least five touchdowns. That's more than enough for some teams, but the problem he has is staying injury-free, as he has had two ACL injuries in his career.
It makes sense in theory, but despite his injury problems, it wouldn't make logical sense for the Chiefs to send Charles packing because he can do extraordinary things with the football in his hands when healthy. Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey has said the running back will remain with the team, so don't expect to see him moving anytime soon.
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