Three Kansas City Chiefs Gearing Up For Roster Bonuses Or Guarantees

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Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) lays on the field in pain after being sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

TAMBA HALI

Contract Remaining: one-year, $6,750,000 in base salary

Cap Hit: $11,964,706

Potential Cap Savings: $9,000,000

Bonuses in Question: $2,000,000 roster bonus; $250,000 workout bonus

On March 19 the Chiefs will owe Hali a $2 million bonus simply for his inclusion on the roster, which means if there is going to be a move on Hali then it is probably going to happen sometime between now and March 19. Because the new league year, and subsequently free agency, starts on March 10, one would imagine the real date for when the Chiefs would make a move on Hali will be before the March 19 date.

We all know the value of Hali to the team both on and off the field. There is reason to think keeping Hali on the team would be in the best interest of the team even though the Chiefs drafted his successor, Dee Ford, last year. Wise use of Hali could make Kansas City’s outside pass rush even more deadly as Ford’s snaps are expected to increase significantly in 2015. Keeping him makes sense.

But keeping him at a near $12 million cap number does not make sense for the Chiefs, and the potential cap savings on Hali decreases on March 19 as the $2 million roster bonus is guaranteed on that date. A decision needs to be made and it needs to be made soon.

Restructuring Hali’s deal makes sense as a way to reduce his cost while still keeping him on the team. The issue comes with how much money Hali wants and for how much longer he wants to play. If Hali is looking to cash in for one more pay day then he may opt to force Kansas City’s hand and make them cut him. We don’t know where Hali stands on that issue.

The goal for the Chiefs has to be to get as much of that $9 million in savings as possible. They simply cannot afford to keep Hali at his present number and fix the issues at wide receiver and on the offensive line while also adding depth to other areas of the team. Even with the 11 draft picks, some veterans are going to need to be signed in free agency to make up for the learning curve that should be expected from the incoming rookies. That means cap space, that means lowering the cost of Hali.

It would seem like the Chiefs’ goal is to keep Hali if they can work out a deal. Maybe that involves converting his roster bonus into a signing bonus that is spread out over a couple years and Hali taking a salary cut. It’s a possibility if Hali is willing to go down that road.

Good news in this is that a decision will be made sooner rather than later. This won’t be a Brandon Flowers situation where he is cut in June. At least we have that going for us.

Next: Alex Smith