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Guaranteed Carries: New Chiefs RB Le'Ron McClain Likely To Split Time With Thomas Jones

Once you get past the smoke of the initial fire of Le’Ron McClain’s signing with the Kansas City Chiefs, you start to hear the stories that were coming out of his last team concerning why he left. The Ravens moved from McClain’s fullback services after he kept reiterating that he wanted more carries from the Ravens instead of serving as the lead blocker. In other words, he didn’t want to serve as a fullback anymore.

That’s what makes two things important to note for the Chiefs. One, the obvious assumption is that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley were aware of this before committing to bringing in McClain into the locker room — one where the offense is clearly based on a running game with Jamaal Charles’ name written all over it. And the other carries already go to a veteran who has earned the respect of the head coach and roster in Thomas Jones.

Simply put, McClain is going to get his carries. If he left Baltimore to get a chance to carry the football, then he isn’t going to sign without that chance. And Pioli is not going to sign a player and then hope he shuts up about what he really wants on the field. There’s going to be an agreement in place, and that means you will see Le’Ron McClain carrying the football several times a game for the Chiefs.

Secondly, this is why McClain most likely signed the 1-year deal. If things don’t go his way, he gets to approach the free agent market again one year later when there aren’t hundreds of players clogging up the market. McClain will be in yet another contract year, so he will play nice, and when he does have the ball, he will maximize his efforts. And the Chiefs get a chance to see the product on the field and watch the payoff.

What’s that payoff, you ask? Thomas Jones was not the same back at the end of last season as he was in the beginning. Charles is going to get the bulk of the carries this year, that much has already been established. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be the Stephen Jackson type of workhorse that you might expect. There are still carries to go around, assuming Jones takes a significant step backward, and all three men will get their carries.

Fans will still complain, but if the Chiefs are in the playoff hunt heading into December, the Chiefs are going to be set up well to run the football successfully into the playoffs. The challenge might be having enough passes to keep the new receivers happy, but then again, that running game is what opens up the field for Cassel to take advantage of his new targets. It’s all a matter of balance, but it’s a beautiful problem to have compared to other teams just trying to figure out what they even have on offense at this point.