"I have a great deal of admiration for Jamaal Charles, his toughness, and what he's been able to achieve in his time in Kansas City," general manager John Dorsey said in a statement released by the team. "These decisions are never easy, but we felt it was in the best interests of the club to move on at this time. We wish Jamaal and his family the best of luck in their next step."
Coach Andy Reid offered similar sentiments: "I've been privileged to work with a lot of talented players over the years, and Jamaal Charles ranks up there with the great ones. I appreciate the way he came to work every day, he gave us everything he had day-in and day-out. I've said it before, I think he's a future Hall of Famer."
For the first time in his career, Charles will have the ability to test his value on the open market. The back was due roughly $7 million in 2017, the final year of his third contract. However, with viable backfield options in Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller in tow and with Eric Berry and Dontari Poe garnering high salary-cap numbers in '17, Charles became expendable.
Charles is Kansas City's all-time leading rusher with 7,260 rushing yards, but the Chiefs great's last two seasons have been marred by injuries. Hampered by knee ailments, Charles only played in eight games and started five games over the past two years, totaling 404 yards on the ground.
But without Charles in the lineup since 2014, Kansas City's ground game was just as good and sometimes better, averaging five more yards per game with an 84 percent winning percentage.
Charles' impending release, along with his comparable contemporary Adrian Peterson's exit from Minnesota, signals a changing of the guard at the running back position. Once fantasy stalwarts, Charles and Peterson's value significantly decreased over the last two seasons due to injury, so much so that their perennially contending employers have chosen to let them test the market instead of pay them through the nose.
He should find multiple suitors in free agency, those who are not desperate enough to pay the top dollar that Peterson merits, but willing to take a flyer on an affordable future Hall of Famer with a few years left on his legs.
One landing spot could be Philadelphia, where his former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson is now the head coach. But one thing is for sure: Charles will look to play for a contender in '17, and there will be no shortage of options.