After just 12 carries in three games, Jamaal Charles is back on IR. He also turns 30 in December.
Is this the end of the road for the four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro?
“I think that’s the big question people around here have,” Kansas City Star Chiefs writer Terez Paylor said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Here’s what we know: He’s back on IR after coming back from a torn ACL, he never fully made it back to be what he was before the injury, and he’s having a second surgery on the same knee, which obviously isn’t a great sign. And we also know this: His cap number next year is going to be $7 million, and they’ve got two younger backs on the roster (who are) cheap through 2018. They’re already almost capped out for next year already, so it would seem like his cap number is going to have to be adjusted. But I’ll also say this: The guy loves football. He wants to keep playing. He said that multiple times. He wants to play four more years. If he’s not going to play in Kansas City next year, someone will take a chance on him and see if he can recapture the magic of 2013.”
The Chiefs, to their credit, have been more than solid even without Charles. They’re 5-2, they’ve won three straight games, and they’re getting significant contributions from Spencer Ware, Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin, among others.
“They’re really spreading it around,” Paylor said. “They’re really spreading it around pretty good. You can argue that Kelce and Maclin haven’t gotten the ball enough, but they’re spreading it around to the open guy. Tyreek Hill has had a very nice season. He’s got four receiving touchdowns. So they’re really spreading it around. That’s what they do. They throw to the running backs a lot. This is Andy Reid at his finest. This is just what he does. If this was another system with another team, they’d force-feed Maclin and Kelce the ball because that’s what they believe in. But Andy Reid is still a West Coast guy at heart. You’re taking what the defense gives you and you pride yourself at having talent at all those skill positions and being in a position to take advantage of whatever they’re giving you.”
Even Nick Foles came through for the Chiefs last week, going 16-of-22 for 223 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Alex Smith, who took two vicious shots to the head against Indianapolis. Paylor believes the Chiefs will sit Smith and start Foles this Sunday at home against Jacksonville (2-5).
“That’s what I’d imagine they’d do,” Paylor said. “I don’t know that. But that’s what I imagine they should do or would do. We’re going to have to see. But if you’re asking me who I would bet on starting Sunday, I’d put money on Foles.”