According to an interview given by Clark Hunt the week of the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs finished the season about $20 million under the salary cap. There had been reports of the team being as much as $27 million under the cap, however Hunt indicated that those estimates were a bit high. Under the new rules of the updated CBA, teams can carry over unused cap dollars from one year to the next.
This makes sense. Teams should have that flexibility with their money. For instance, if a team has a number of key players set to hit free agency they may want to save some extra cap space to re-sign those guys rather than blow that money on guys like Shabby Piscitelli.
With the extra $20 million, the Chiefs could outbid just about any other team NFL team for any free agent they might deem worth the money.
Per the terms of the new CBA, the extra money doesn’t just automatically carry over from one year to the next. The team must actually choose to carry the cap room over by submitting a written notice to the league before the start of the new league year. The teams don’t have to carry over all the money. The Chiefs could decide to carry over any portion of their extra $20 million.
According to Hunt, the team has already decided to carry over their space.
“The reason we chose to carry it over is because we anticipate needing it in 2012 and 2013. Both to continue signing our own free agents as well as being able to go out and sign some free agents from outside,” Hunt told 810 Sports just days before the Super Bowl.
I did not hear this Hunt quote until today and so it makes me cautiously optimistic. I say cautiously because simply carrying over the money does not necessarily mean the Chiefs will spend it.
Still, Hunt said that re-signing the teams’ own players is a priority for the Chiefs.
“It’s been a big priority when the team headed in a young direction back starting in 2008. One of the things we had in the back of our mind was when those guys got to the end of their first contract we wanted to be in a position to be able to retain them if they were the type of players that we wanted for the future. We’ve obviously done that with a number of guys over the years. We’ve got a couple of key guys this year, we’ll have a couple of key guys next year and that’s just going to be part of the philosophy. We want guys that start their careers with the Chiefs to play for us as long as possible.”
Carrying over an extra $20 million in cap space only gives the Chiefs more flexibility in 2012. They don’t have to use the money if they don’t want to or if it doesn’t make sense.
As we’ve been saying for a while now, the next few weeks will tell us an awful lot about how the Chiefs will run their franchise. Because they’ve been near the bottom of the league in spending for a while now, many fans have taken to calling them the Kansas City Cheaps.
Those accusations might not necessarily be fair. The Chiefs are a very young team and quite frankly, they haven’t had many big stars worth spending money on since Scott Pioli came to town. Of the stars they do have, the Chiefs have re-signed most of them including Brandon Flowers, Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson. I’ve been saying for a while that we wouldn’t really be able to find out if the Chiefs were cheap or not until the time came to retain their starts and pay them big contracts. A young team will only be young and cheap for so long. Eventually, the Chiefs will have to pay or cut players lose. According to Hunt, the Chiefs are very aware that the time to spend is coming.
“When the team went young in 2008, with Herm Edwards as the coach, we ended up with a very young football team which put us way under the salary cap, that was sot of one of the byproducts of that,” Hunt said. “And when Scott came in, he inherited that situation. He’s gone out and added some key free agents as we’ve gone along. But we’ve also signed a lot of very expensive number one draft choices, particularly under the old CBA. A lot of time the way those contracts are structured, they create significant challenges for you from a cap standpoint as you go forward. Last year when I was speaking with some of the media about our salary cap situation, I told them that this situation’s going to change dramatically as we go forward. As we go into 2012 and 2013, we care going to utilize that cap space. Thank goodness we’ve been able to carry over the space that we had in 11′ to 12′ and 13′ because it’s really going to help us, it’s going to give us an advantage against some other teams that will have to let guys go.”
There you have it right from the horse’s mouth. Hunt says the Chiefs are going to change their spending habits.