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Rashee Rice timeline: Would Chiefs cut WR with suspension looming for assault investigation, felony arrest?

Rashee Rice has had a rough offseason after helping the Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl champions. The second-year wide receiver has gone from standout on-field rookie to off-field concern in a hurry.

Rice’s latest issue stems from an alleged assault of a photographer at a Dallas nightclub. This comes roughly a month after Rice surrendered to Dallas police on April 10 after being charged with eight felonies, including aggravated assault, for a hit-and-run high-speed crash on March 30.

The NFL already was doing its due diligence into what kind of disciplinary action Rice would face from the first incident as a violation of the league’s personnel conduct policy. Multiple reports have the Chiefs expecting a lengthy suspension, up to half of the 2024 regular.

Now with the news of the additional assault probe coming not long after the first major misstep, there are questions on whether on the Chiefs should part ways with the talented 24-year-old receiver. Here’s looking at when Kansas City officials can expect to know Rice’s fate and whether they might take action before the league does.

All indications are, given Rice’s pivotal role in the multi-car crash tied to high-speed racing, that the legal process will play out this summer. The next court hearing for the lawsuit that also includes co-defendant Theodore Knox is scheduled for June.

Although the league, via commissioner Roger Goodell, has said it will be patient for a Rice resolution in the courts, it would be surprising if an announcement isn’t made before the regular season kicks off in September. There’s a slim chance nothing is resolved within the 2024 calendar year.

The Chiefs used a first-round draft pick on a wide receiver, Xavier Worthy and also signed Marquise Brown in free agency. Kansas City needed to replace free agents Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Richie James, but given their aggressiveness to trade up for Worthy, they have a strong contingency should Rice not be available for an early-season stretch.

Last season, the Chiefs saw wide receiver Justyn Ross plead guilty to domestic battery and criminal property damage charges in late October. He was put on the Commissioner’s Exempt List later that week and quickly drew a six-game suspension to keep him out from Weeks 8-14.

Rice’s charges are different but still serious. He turned himself in to police on April 10 for the crash-related felony charges. There was swift action taken on Ross by the NFL during the regular season. The fact Rice ran into trouble rather early this offseason points to the Chiefs knowing Rice’s upcoming unavailability sometime in training camp.

How long should Rashee Rice expect to be suspended?

Ross crossed the line with the personal conduct policy. Rice endangered lives with his behavior. If Rice already was being considered to miss half the 2024 season for the fallout of the crash, six games looks like his minimum.

The range of 8-12 games also can’t be ruled out given the multiple charges. There was no drunken driving or death involved with his charges, but Rice is in line to be suspended as many as 10 games when you factor in the multiple incidents.

Would the Chiefs cut Rashee Rice?

Rice, a second-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, is in Year 2 of four-year rookie contract worth just less than $6.5 million. Around $3.5 million of that has been guaranteed with a signing bonus and his salaries for the first two seasons.

There’s no reason for the Chiefs to get rash with Rice. He counts only $1.5 million toward the cap and would cost the team more against the cap with a release and eating $2.33 million in dead money.

The Chiefs have prepared well for Rice missing games, which could end up being a good chunk of the season, but they also know how valuable he was as a target for Patrick Mahomes down the stretch and into the postseason. The Chiefs tend to have a higher threshold for off-field issues than most teams, and at the moment, it’s not smart to part ways with Rice until the league takes action.

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