With Frank Clark, Chiefs double down on players with sordid pasts in efforts to surpass Patriots


The Chiefs have decided to retool in the aftermath of their AFC championship loss to the Patriots. Their first move was jettisoning defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who was embarrassed by Tony Romo’s clairvoyance, for Steve Spagnuolo, the architect of the Super Bowl XLII game plan that held the greatest offense ever to just 14 points.  

Defensive mainstays Eric Berry, Justin Houston and Dee Ford have been swapped out, most notably for Tyrann Mathieu and the recently acquired Frank Clark. Kansas City acquired Clark from the Seahawks Tuesday in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick, 2020 second-round pick and swap of third-round selections this year. The Chiefs also signed Clark to a reported five-year deal extension worth $63.5 million guaranteed. 

From a football standpoint, the Chiefs are upgrading on the defensive line with Clark over Ford. Over the last three seasons, Clark has amassed 32 sacks, whereas Ford has tallied 25. Clark, 25, is also two years younger than Ford. 

But when you factor in the cost, it’s clear this was an epic overpay. If the Chiefs were intent on not paying Ford, they could’ve targeted Trey Flowers in free agency or attempted to acquire Michael Bennett for a much more modest draft haul (the Patriots swapped their 2020 fifth-round pick for the Eagles’ seventh-round selection). Giving up significant draft capital for Clark and inking him to a monstrous contract is the worst of both worlds.

In addition, and perhaps most notably, the Chiefs are doubling down on players with histories of violence against women. Clark was dismissed from the Michigan football team in 2014 after being arrested on domestic violence charges. His then-girlfriend told police he punched her in the face during a dispute in his hotel room. Her younger brothers painted a more gruesome picture, alleging Clark grabbed her by the throat and slammed her to the ground. There were also reportedly two children, ages 3 and 5, who witnessed the assault in the room. 

While Clark has not run into any more legal problems since entering the NFL, he did call out a Bleacher Report writer in 2017 for referencing his domestic violence record in one of her stories. 

On the other side of the ball, Tyreek Hill was under investigation for a domestic battery case involving the 3-year-old child he shares with his fiancee, whom he assaulted when she was pregnant. The incident resulted in Hill getting kicked off the Oklahoma State football team. 

Last week, it was reported Hill’s son has been removed from his custody. Police visited Hill’s home twice last month for abuse and neglect incidents involving the child. The Chiefs had nothing to add about the matter when Hill reported for voluntary workouts earlier this month. 

The Chiefs are not under any obligation to act on Hill until all of the facts surrounding his case come out. But it’s worth noting the organization took the same conservative approach with Kareem Hunt last year, following three reported violent incidents over a five-month span. The Chiefs released Hunt in December when video of him assaulting a woman in a hotel lobby last February was posted on TMZ.

There’s no doubt the Chiefs are trying to improve in their efforts to get past the Patriots, doubling down on questionable characters in the process. It could lead to a Super Bowl season, or blow up in more ways than one.