- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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We're continuing our look at potential Kansas City Chiefs' free agents. We started the series on Monday with defensive end Tyson Jackson. We'll continue here with their only offensive skill player in the bunch.
WR/PR Dexter McCluster
Four NFL seasons, four with the Chiefs. He will be 26 when next season begins.
Chiefs career: Judged solely by the numbers, McCluster's time with the Chiefs has been a success. He has 172 catches, 662 rushing yards and six touchdowns on offense and he has returned a punt for a touchdown three times. But, on offense at least, his impact has been minimal. Big plays from McCluster have been few. The Chiefs have gone through several coordinators during McCluster's four seasons and none has been unable to unlock his big-play potential.
Argument for keeping McCluster: McCluster is young enough that he should be heading into the prime of his career. McCluster's ability as a punt returner is a plus. Two of his three touchdown returns have been the result of excellent blocking but the one against the New York Giants last season was a work of art. He's also shown good judgment on returns and hasn't fumbled much. He's only 5-8 and 170 pounds, but McCluster has been durable. He missed five games as a rookie because of a high ankle sprain but just one game since.
Argument for letting McCluster go: The Chiefs signed CFL veteran Weston Dressler, who is of similar size and has a similar skill set to McCluster. They sure don't need both of them. The Chiefs may be able to get from Dressler , or perhaps a combination of Dressler and Junior Hemingway, what they did from McCluster. Because of his size, McCluster is always going to be a part-time player. At some point, he will wear down and the returns will diminish with increased playing time. That would be acceptable if McCluster was more of a threat on offense.
What should happen: The new contract McCluster signs will probably be the biggest of his career. He's in no position to take a hometown discount so the Chiefs have to ask the hard question: Is he really worth a big contract? The fact is, McCluster may have more value to another team than he does to the Chiefs. If the Chiefs feel strongly enough about Dressler, or their ability to find someone else to replace McCluster, this shouldn't be a difficult decision.
5dEric D. Williams