The Chiefs’ Salary Cap: Printer Go Brrr

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The Part you’ve all been waiting for: How to turn -$25 Million into $15 million.

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So now lets look at what can be ascertained from all this history. Here’s how Veach and Tilis like to structure their contracts: 3-5 year terms depending on position, with as low of a signing bonus as possible, a low cap hit year one, guaranteed funds the first 2-3 years, and a low risk out after that with 1-2 years of unguaranteed money. Oh, I also forgot to mention, all of these contracts are top 5 at worst in terms of per year value for their position. It’s actually really genius as it lets them play with the cap in 2-3 year increments without mortgaging the future, while still giving the players top money.

Now let’s look where the Chiefs stand cap wise, and we’ll use Over the Cap’s numbers to put us at a bit of a handicap, as well:

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Another one of the great things about the way these contracts are structured is that it leads to multiple ways to manipulate the cap for each player depending on if things work out or not. So here are a few predictions/ways the Chiefs can make cap room without cutting anyone.

  1. Extend Tyrann Mathieu – This is the most likely to me.  The top paid safeties make about $14 mil per, so that’s the goal here. We’ll say a 3-year extension. 2021’s cap will drop to $6 mil, then $13 mil in 2022, $16 mil in 2023, and $21 mil 2024. The first 2 years will be guaranteed, with 2023 being guaranteed in 2022.
  2. Extend Eric Fisher – Many believe Fisher will be cut after his season ending injury, but I’m not so sure. Yes, cutting Fisher would save KC money, but it would also open up a huge hole for the future even if he starts on IR next year. I’d suggest the Chiefs offer him a three-year extension valuing about $15.5 mil per over the next 4 seasons (Top 5 left tackle money). Make 2021 ($6 mil) and 2022 ($13 mil)  fully guaranteed (could be an injury guarantee for 2022) and 2023 ($19 Mil) and 2024 ($23 Mil) unguaranteed. This benefits Fisher as it gives him more guaranteed money if the injury hampers him, as well as the opportunity to make top LT money his final two seasons if it doesn’t.  At the same time, it gives the Chiefs a low risk two seasons to see what they have in Niang or a draft pick this year and next, but also allows them to keep Fisher long term if they wish, too. 
  3. Restructure Patrick Mahomes – Yes, I know I said restructuring damages long term, but I also said Mahomes’ contract was special. I’d only expect this if the Chiefs need to felt they needed too, but it may have also been the plan all along. Restructuring Mahomes  saves $18 mil this year, but converting it into a roster bonus at about $5 mil each year for the next 5 years, which honestly isn’t that bad. (Tilis has been shown to give out restructures in year 2 before with Clark’s contract. He does this to avoid having to pay a major signing bonus in the players first year.)
  4. Restructure Chris Jones – I’d file this under not very likely. With the last 3 moves the Chiefs now sit at least $15 mil under the cap, which is more than enough.  But if any of the first few moves don’t work out, or they feel they need more money, this is an option. Restructuring Jones frees up another 14 mil this year, but adds another 7 mil guaranteed his final two years, putting his cap hit to just south of $30 mil.  This added with the other moves would put the Chiefs $30 mil under the cap for 2021 and $40 mil under the cap for 2022. Not really ideal, but it is an option. 
  5. Extend Tyreek Hill Next Year– This is a move that I expect to happen next year, but could also happen this year. At most, it only opens up $3 mil in cap space in 2022. 

So let’s look again at the cap number with the top 3, most likely moves.

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$15 mil this year and $50 mil next allows for replacement players, a new draft class and a high-priced FA or two. Last year we saw Tilis and Veach sign Robinson to a 1 year 2 mil deal. This 2 mil did not count against the cap due to the CBA’s new reduced cap hit rule. Expect something similar with Ward or another player this year.

As I finish writing this The NFL just announced they are finalizing a new 10-year TV deal, so the salary cap may skyrocket. Even more room for the Chiefs to deal with.

I’ll leave you with one final bold prediction:

Allen Robinson to the Chiefs. 4 years for $85mil. $7 mil in 2021, $24 mil in 2022, $26 mil in 2023, and $28 Mil in 24. With the first two years guaranteed and a $14 mil signing bonus.

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03/05/2021 5:33 pm

Excellent read

Thank you

03/05/2021 3:50 pm

Do your thing, Brett.

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
03/05/2021 2:41 pm

Mitko. Before I would touch Mahomes contract I would look at getting rid of Schwartz. There would be zero future penalties to cutting him, which would still give us more flexibility in the future to play Pat’s contract to help our salary cap position.

Did you play around on overthecap to see what cuts could save us space as well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
03/05/2021 12:06 pm

I was saying Fish extension and cutting Schwartz before Fisher was hurt in the playoffs. If he is able to play by October, I would still extend him. But if he will miss half the season we need to replace him in the first round this year.

Reply to  Severely Concussed
03/05/2021 1:45 pm

IMO, we need to get at least two OTs in the draft this year. Not necessarily first rounders, but I’d like to see at least one 1-3 rounder and one late round flyer. Hopefully Niang is able to hold down one of the spots, but I don’t think we can necessarily count on that given that we missed a year of evaluation when he sat out the year.

Reply to  Slayer0810
03/05/2021 2:10 pm

We would have missed most of the evaluation period on Niang anyway, even absent Covid. As for the idea of taking another rookie OT early in the draft, it wouldn’t surprise me if Veach did that, depending upon who’s available for our picks, but I’d rather not hope he reaches on players to fill a perceived need.

And here’s the other thing, presuming that we do draft an OT early. That will serve mainly to give us,,,another Niang, in terms of evaluation. The team knows Niang at least somewhat, and there’s no reason to believe that he hasn’t been doing his work and homework. The new guy would be a complete unknown to Niang’s somewhat-known. How’s that make the new OT a better choice than Niang? We don’t know.

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
Reply to  BleedingRedAndGold
03/05/2021 2:37 pm

In my scenario Niang would have taken Schwart’s RT spot. The 1st round pick would play LT, while Remmers would be resigned for backup swing tackle duties.

If Fisher can truly be back in August, then I want a center in the first. It is time to get longterm cohesion on the o line.

The future of our line for the next 3 years could be:


Reply to  Severely Concussed
03/05/2021 4:13 pm

I don’t understand the projected time table for Fish. All the science is saying linemen types take, on average, 339 days to recover fully from surgery. That would be a bit longer than August. I posted a link a while back stating as much. I think KC is gonna have to go with two new tackles this season; one FA and one rookie starter.

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
Reply to  SCKSChief
03/05/2021 4:33 pm

I don’t really want to spend the money on a FA tackle.

In my callous mind, I would cut Fisher and Schwartz and go with a rookie LT and Niang at RT. It might me rough for a few weeks, but we could reap the benefits for several years to come.

Reply to  Severely Concussed
03/05/2021 4:50 pm

I’m still operating under the delusion that Veach can work the magic and somehow nab Trent Williams.

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
Reply to  SCKSChief
03/05/2021 5:30 pm

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