With Frank Clark hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons during June, what is the situation with his NFL contract? Let’s examine the details of Clark’s contract, his salary-cap implications with the Chiefs, and the Chiefs’ options going forward.
Frank Clark’s contract details and bonuses
After playing on the franchise tag with the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, Clark signed a five-year contract with the Chiefs. His contract is worth $104 million across the five seasons, including a $19 million signing bonus and $43.8 million guaranteed at signing.
The guarantees on the contract were made up of the signing bonus and Clark’s 2019 and 2020 base salaries. $7 million of the 2020 base salary was paid as an advance in 2019, meaning it is treated similarly to a signing bonus and prorates across the contract. Clark’s $18.5 million salary in 2021 became fully guaranteed at the start of the 2020 league year.
Clark has three years remaining on his contract
Clark and the Chiefs signed the five-year contract in 2019. It end after the 2023 season, leaving three more seasons on the deal. However, the 2021 season is the final year with guarantees.
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What impact does Clark’s deal have on the Chiefs’ salary cap?
Clark’s $19 million signing bonus prorates across the five years of his contract at $3.8 million per year. Additionally, the $7 million advance (paid in 2019) prorates at $1.4 million per year across the deal. Clark also restructured his contract in 2020, converting $6.4 million to a restructure bonus. That prorates across the remaining four years at $1.6 million per year.
Clark is due $18.5 million in salary in 2021, including a $500,000 workout bonus. That all adds up to give Clark a salary-cap number of $25.8 million in 2021. That number rises to $26.3 million in 2022 and $27.8 million in 2023.
What options do the Chiefs have with Clark’s contract?
With the latest news surround Clark’s arrest, what options do the Chiefs have with Clark’s contract?
Releasing Clark in 2021 would have been extremely expensive
With his $18.5 million salary guaranteed, the Chiefs would not have saved much by releasing Clark ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Due to the post-June 1 rules, the Chiefs would save $500,000 in cap space by releasing Clark in the coming weeks. They would be left with $25.3 million in dead money in 2021 and a further $13.6 million in dead money in 2022.
However, with his arrest, the Chiefs may get Clark’s contract guarantees voided due to violation of the personal conduct policy. If that is the case, releasing Clark would leave the Chiefs with $6.8 million in dead money in 2021 and $13.6 million in 2022. Nevertheless, the Chiefs may claim back some of that dead money in future salary-cap credits.
What are the implications of the Chiefs releasing Clark next season?
The Chiefs may decide to ride through the 2021 season with Clark on the roster. If that is the case, the Chiefs can release Clark with few concerns next offseason. With no guaranteed salary remaining, it would just be the remaining prorated bonus that would be due. That would leave $13.6 million in dead money on the Chiefs’ salary cap in 2022.
However, if the Chiefs release Clark with a post-June 1 designation, they would have $6.8 million in dead money in both 2022 and 2023.
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