The Kansas City Chiefs are not expected to exercise the fifth-year option on 2020 first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per a source.
The former No. 32 overall pick will enter 2023 in the final year of his rookie contract, set to earn $1.986 million in base salary. The fifth-year option would have been fully guaranteed at roughly $5.5 million.
Last month general manager Brett Veach said he was undecided on whether to pick up Edward-Helaire's option, opting to wait until after the draft. Ahead of May 2's deadline, K.C. made the call.
"We're excited though for Clyde this season," Veach told reporters Monday. "He was actually the first guy I saw in the building today, in tremendous shape. He's a good football player. He's going to help us out here, again, with these guys. We have a list of things to do with a bunch of these guys, and now that the draft is officially ended in the next coming weeks now's the time we go through all that stuff and start making our plans for the future.
"But needless to say, we're excited to have him back in the building today and look forward to hopefully a healthy 2023 campaign from him."
The LSU product enjoyed his best season in the NFL during his rookie campaign, earning career-highs with 803 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 181 carries and 297 receiving yards and another score on 36 catches.
CEH never built on that promising campaign.
The running back has missed seven games each of the past two regular seasons due to injury. In 10 games in 2022, Edwards-Helaire earned 302 rushing yards with three scores on 71 carries and added 17 catches for 151 yards and three receiving TDs. While the RB was activated from injured reserve ahead of Super Bowl LVII, Edwards-Helaire was inactive for the Chiefs' championship victory.
Kansas City unearthed running back Isiah Pacheco in the seventh round of last year's draft. The energizer-bunny with a bulldozing style is set to be the Chiefs' lead back in 2023. Jerick McKinnon took on most of K.C.'s pass-game duties last season, and the veteran re-signed with the club Tuesday after recording a career-high 10 touchdowns last year.
Currently, CEH projects as the No. 3 back in the Chiefs backfield. He has at least one more season in Kansas City to recapture his lofty draft status before hitting the open market.