Believe it or not, the 2021 NFL regular season is over a third of the way over. With that comes a combination of injuries and opportunities. For the Kansas City Chiefs, an injury led to the opportunity of potentially adding an additional running back to the roster. That possibility was explored, at the very least, in the month of October.
The Chiefs currently have starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the injured reserve list due to an MCL sprain. The 2020 first-round pick suffered the injury during the team's Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He's slated to return to practice in a couple of weeks if he's healthy, which will be a major boost to the position group. Until he can do so, the duo of Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon is doing their best to fill in.
Last week, McKinnon saw the field for minimal action but did pick up a key first down by displaying terrific heart and sheer effort for a player of his stature (5'9", 201 pounds). Williams scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground and also hauled in three passes for 27 yards. In what was a critical Chiefs win over the Washington Football Team, the running back group was a major reason why. Sam Hays of Arrowhead Report joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to discuss why that means the team doesn't need yet another option in the backfield.
Don't get me wrong: Marlon Mack is a fine running back. His big-play ability would be a welcomed addition to the Chiefs' offense, he has prototypical size for the position (6'0", 210 pounds) and he already has a pair of productive seasons on his resume. At the age of 25, Mack is still a valuable player. With that said, he's also two years removed from that level of production and is still bouncing back from a torn Achilles. There's reason for pause.
More reason for pause: The Chiefs would not only be accepting more money onto their books with an addition of Mack, but they'd almost surely have to give up some form of draft capital in order to get him. Considering where the team is at when it comes to the running back situation, it just doesn't make any sense. Losing multiple forms of resources in order to acquire a half-season rental like this simply isn't a smart business move.
Of course, it's entirely possible that the Chiefs' "preliminary inquiries" could have been made over a week ago. There may be no more fuel to the Mack fire when it comes to general manager Brett Veach looking to insulate the running back room. That's how it should be, too.
McKinnon is a steady enough third-string back — and one that likely should be getting more chances to show what he can do on the field. Williams is one of the better backups in the game and filled in admirably in Week 6 against a dangerous Washington front line. Edwards-Helaire's injury isn't season-ending and even if it was, this conversation may not be all that much different. Mack is buried in the depth chart with the Indianapolis Colts, and the Chiefs don't need him enough to save him in Kansas City.
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