Frank Clark leaves Kansas City with no hard feelings
Chiefs edge rusher Frank Clark knew what was coming before it happened. He took a pay cut to stay in Kansas City in 2022. He wasn’t going to do that again, and the Chiefs weren’t about to pay him a $20.5 million base salary in 2023.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business, but I took a pay cut for years at a time,” Clark told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports on her Undefined podcast, via Pete Sweeney of arrowheadpride.com. " I think it was two years in row I had to take a pay cut, which is fine. But going into my third year, I had a pretty great year. . . . I helped my team win another Super Bowl, and I do what I have to do. But then I have big pay coming in next year on my deal, $20-plus million I think, which is high as shit. Obviously, it’s high, man, in this era of football, especially in this era of [salary] cap, too.
“So, we obviously know something has to be worked out. I wasn’t asking for an out-the-ballpark number. I wasn’t asking for $15 million to $20 million. . . . My agent, he basically just gave me the scoop and said [the Chiefs said], ‘We’re trying to get something done with a few other guys on the team,’ and I said, ‘I’m with you. I understand fully.’ And he said, ‘If it comes around in free agency, if we can make something work out later on, let’s stay in contact and we can work something out.’ And I said, ‘All right, I got you.’ And that was basically the gist of the conversation.”
Clark said he never got a reduced offer before the Chiefs cut him March 7 to save $21 million against the cap for 2023. But he leaves for Denver with nothing but positive feelings for the team that traded for him in 2019.
It was time for both sides to move on, Clark said, and he has, signing a deal with the Broncos.
“No, it was never nothing said [about taking a pay cut], because it was more him saying like, ‘Yo, I don’t want to offer you a number that you’re going to feel disrespected if I offer you, to keep it real with you,’” Clark said. “I feel like we both enjoyed the time. I truthfully believe them and agree to that. I enjoyed my time in KC. I enjoyed the relationship that I built with everybody. There’s no hard feelings to anybody in that building.”
In four seasons with the Chiefs, Clark made the Pro Bowl three times and totaled 23.5 sacks and 59 quarterback hits.