Jamaal Charles Extension with Chiefs a Mutually Beneficial Deal at Perfect Price

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystJuly 23, 2014

Jay Biggerstaff/AP Images

The Kansas City Chiefs were one of the NFL's biggest surprises in 2013, improving by nine wins after a 2-14 record in 2012, and reaching the Wild Card Round.

That success was spurred on by a second-straight huge season from running back Jamaal Charles, and with the 27-year-old threatening to hold out of training camp, the Chiefs were left with a difficult decision.

OK, so it wasn't difficult. Or even really a decision.

Sure enough, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reported, the Chiefs cracked open the checkbook, inking Charles to a contract extension that makes him the NFL's second-highest paid player at his position:

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passed along more details on the deal:

As contract extensions and incredibly brief holdouts go, this was a complete no-brainer.

For starters, in Charles the Chiefs have one of the NFL's very best at his position, a player in the prime of his career who has played as well as any tailback in the NFL over the past several seasons.

Jamaal Charles Career Stats
Six NFL Seasons

Were Charles to hang up his cleats today (highly unlikely given all that tasty cheddar he just received), his 5.6 yards per carry would be an NFL record for running backs with over 1,000 career carries.

Three times over the past four seasons, Charles has gained over 1,700 total yards. Twice over that span, Charles has ranked as a top-two running back at Pro Football Focus (subscription required), including taking home the No. 1 overall spot back in 2010.

Those numbers alone would appear to make Charles worth every dime the Chiefs just gave him. However, when you also consider Charles' importance to the Chiefs offense, the six-year veteran's value stands out even more.

In 2013, Charles accounted for a higher percentage of his team's total offensive yardage than each of the five highest-paid running backs in average annual salary, according to Over the Cap, by a significant margin.

Top RB Percentage of Total Offense 2013
PlayerTeamTotal YardsTeam YardsPct.
Jamaal CharlesKC1980539636.7
LeSean McCoyPHI2146667632.1
Matt ForteCHI1933610931.6
Marshawn LynchSEA1573542429.0
Adrian PetersonMIN1437550826.1
Arian FosterHOU725555613.0
Per NFL.com

In other words, as goes Jamaal Charles, so go the Kansas City offense, and if the team has any illusions of a second consecutive postseason trip, it needs its bell cow on the farm.

Granted, it isn't all sunshine and puppies in the land of barbecue. Quarterback Alex Smith and outside linebacker Justin Houston are both entering the final year of their contracts. Neither will be a cheap get, and Charles' deal means the Chiefs will have to be that much more creative to get everyone locked up.

With that said though, Charles' holdout (brief though it may have been) shot him to the top of the Chiefs' priority list, and general manager John Dorsey was wise to bite the bullet and get a deal done swiftly.

Because if the Chiefs are going to make any noise in the AFC West in 2014, they're going to need Charles to put up another big year.


Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.