With numerous sources (mostly Canadian) reporting that CFL superstar wideout Weston Dressler signing with the Kansas City Chiefs is imminent, the writing seems to be on the wall for Dexter McCluster.
Dressler possesses a skill-set very similar to McCluster’s and he’ll come with a significantly cheaper price tag. While McCluster’s return abilities are clearly bar none, Dressler is a better pure receiver than McCluster. With Kansas City’s special teams unit being among the league’s best, one would assume the hurt will be minimal.
Additionally, though he’s far from a sure thing to make the 53-man roster, the signing of RB Joe McKnight earlier this month already seemed to spell bad news for McCluster. McKnight has never quite been able to put it together following the ridiculous hype surrounding him out of high school — he was called “the most exciting prospect the state of Louisiana has produced since Marshall Faulk” — but has proven an effective return man in the NFL.
McCluster has become a fan favorite in Arrowhead Stadium over his four years in Kansas City. His likable character and propensity for electrifying plays have earned him the respect of the Chiefs’ faithful. His 89-yard punt return touchdown early in 2013 was arguably the most exciting moment at Arrowhead all year.
His best season in Kansas City may have been in 2011 when he was used as a hybrid running back/receiver. He carried the ball 114 times for 516 yards and hauled in 46 receptions for 326 yards. His versatility has put him among the likes of guys like Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead — a true x-factor that can hurt you in several different ways.
As far as where McCluster will end up in 2014, it’s anybody’s guess. Two teams that should make an attempt to sign him are the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. Oakland has just a silly amount of cap space this offseason, would love a speedy receiver with McCluster’s tools and of course would love to steal anybody from their bitter conference rivals. New York’s receiving corps is one of the league’s weakest, and they’ve obviously been missing the presence of somebody like McCluster on the field.
As much as fans will miss McCluster in 2014, he’s just not worth it. With the Chiefs’ limited cap space this offseason, bringing McCluster back is a luxury they simply can’t afford. Kansas City may experience a slight dip in their punt return efficiency, but the Benjamins saved by grabbing Dressler in lieu of McCluster will ultimately be worth it.