December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) celebrates after an interception against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City had an offensive lineman visit Monday and are anticipating a visit from Danieal Manning on Thursday, so we figured now would be a good time to update everyone on the state of the Chiefs salary cap and free agent tracker.
Over the Cap estimates the Chiefs have approximately $4,654,280 in cap space, enough to sign a few free agents and pay for a draft class. Remember, the off season is governed by the 51-man roster rule so whenever a man is added another man is knocked off the salary cap books. This gives the Chiefs some flexibility while trying to accumulate talent.
Kansas City could still open up space with contract extensions. Alex Smith and Eric Berry have been rumored to be in contract extension talk, but don’t expect anything until around the time training camp starts. Two popular times for contract extensions to happen are during camp and around November. Jamaal Charles extension was announced in early December 2010, Derrick Johnson‘s was in November 2010, and Tamba Hali‘s extension happened during the 2011 training camp. It isn’t abnormal for a deal to have not been made yet.
Berry’s extension could end up being more complicated than most because he was in the final draft class of the old collective bargaining agreement (CBA). What Berry is earning now is much higher than what he would earn on the open market, which complicates negotiations for an extension because a fair contract would likely see Berry receiving a pay decrease. Matters are further complicated by Earl Thomas, who was in the same draft class and may be viewed as a more valuable player than Berry. Whatever Berry or Thomas does will affect the other’s contract negotiations, so Berry and Thomas’ agents may be in a standoff with each other.
The smart thing for John Dorsey to do may be to let Berry play out this year and activate the option in Berry’s rookie contract for 2015. Doing so ensures Berry is here for another year and represents a near $3.3 million pay cut for Berry which reduces his cap number by about the same amount of money. In other words, Berry will be cheaper in 2015 than he’ll be in 2014. It wouldn’t be a surprise for a potential Berry extension to happen until next off season, especially if the Chiefs are able to agree to a deals with Smith and Justin Houston sometime this summer at which point the Chiefs would have the franchise tag option open to use on Berry.
Things are tight with the salary cap for 2014 but very manageable. After this season the Chiefs can go just about any direction they want. They have three key free agents in Smith, Houston, and Rodney Hudson, but two of them may already be signed by next March. Additionally, estimates have the salary cap taking another significant increase in 2014 and surpassing $140 million. Further, the only player Kansas City has on their roster now that they couldn’t cut in 2015 is Eric Fisher. Otherwise, the Chiefs could pursue about any avenue they wanted when it comes to roster construction.
And don’t forget about all of the compensation picks the Chiefs should receive in 2015, too.
Things are looking pretty good in terms of financial flexibility for the future. This doesn’t mean the Chiefs will spend big on free agents in 2015 but if there is an opportunity that arises salary cap won’t be much of an issue like it is this season.
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