Flowers has three years remaining on his contract with the Chiefs. This is how his cap number breaks down:
2014: $10.5 million
2015: $11.5 million
2016: $9.75 million
Cutting Flowers after June 1 would save the Chiefs about $7 million for this season’s cap, which would increase the cap space the Chiefs have from about $3.5 million to $10.5 million. One would assume the open space would be used to front load extensions for Alex Smith and Justin Houston.
However, the is not a need to open up cap space immediately in order to handle extensions for Smith and Houston.
The landscape for the Chiefs completely changes next offseason. While the cap will still be very tight and we shouldn’t anticipate much in the way of free agent spending once again, Kansas City will have approximately 11 draft picks in 2015 and will have their second round pick back. We’ll have a better idea of what we have in Cooper and Gaines in addition to knowing what we have in guys like Sanders Commings. We quality picks, the Chiefs could revamp 20% of their roster next year with young, cheap talent in the draft.
This puts a lot of guys on the chopping block for next year – including Flowers. Assuming a $140 million salary cap for 2015, a number that is conservative estimate, the Chiefs are working with about $9.7 million in cap space. All of that will be consumed – and probably more, with extensions for Houston and Smith. Should the Chiefs franchise Smith, it’ll cost them about $17 million is cap space, so working out a deal with Smith is optimal to franchising him.
What the Chiefs could do next winter is cut Tamba Hali and Flowers and save $16.5 million in cap space. The projected replacements for both of them – Dee Ford and Phillip Gaines – are already on the roster, so replacing them shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Add to this the 11 picks the Chiefs will have in the draft. How replaceable would you consider Donnie Avery, Mike DeVito, Chase Daniel, and Ryan Succop? In other terms, do you think the Chiefs could find a viable receiver, run-stopping defensive linemen, backup quarterback, and a kicker with four of their 11 draft picks? If you said yes, then you’ve just opened up $13.84 million in cap space.
Simply releasing those four players plus cutting Hali and Flowers would open up around $30.34 million in cap space in addition to the $9.7 million that is already open. One would think $40 million is enough to keep Houston, Smith, and Rodney Hudson plus draft an 11-man class.
If the Chiefs can make the cap situation work without hurting the team by waiting to cut Flowers after the season then why hurt the team now? It would seem in the best interest of the team to keep Flowers for another year before parting ways. The benefit of $7 million this season to go towards how the extensions are structured wouldn’t seem to outweigh the benefit of having Flowers for one more season.