ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have discussed a new contract with running back Jamaal Charles, sources said.
Charles has the option of holding out from training camp if a new deal is not reached before then but the Chiefs believe he will report to camp on time. Chiefs veterans were to report to training camp at Missouri Western State University on Wednesday. The first training camp practice is Thursday.
Charles, 27, has been the engine behind the Kansas City offense for the last several seasons but he had what may have been his best season in 2013. Charles led the Chiefs in rushing (1,287 yards), receiving (70 catches) and touchdowns (19), setting career highs in the last two categories.
Charles accounted for 35.3 percent of the Chiefs' yards from scrimmage last season, highest in the NFL followed by Chicago's Matt Forte and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy at 30.8 percent.
Charles' contract, signed in 2010, is a relative bargain for the Chiefs. He is scheduled to make $3.9 million from the Chiefs this year, including a salary of $2.65 million, a roster bonus of $1 million and a workout bonus of $250,000.
The contract expires after the 2015 season. Charles is scheduled to make $6 million next year.
As comparisons, the Bears will pay Forte $6.9 million this year and the Eagles will give $8 million to McCoy.
Knile Davis and rookie De'Anthony Thomas are among the running backs the Chiefs have behind Charles on their depth chart. Davis rushed for 242 yards as a rookie last season, but his per-carry average of 3.5 yards was well below that of Charles (5.0). Davis also rushed for 67 yards after replacing the injured Charles in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick from Oregon, is fast but at 174 pounds isn't suited to playing every down.
The Chiefs are also facing contract issues with two of their other key players, quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston. Both are headed into the final seasons of their respective contracts. Houston held out from offseason practice, including a mandatory three-day mini-camp.
Charles did participate in offseason practice.