Kansas City Chiefs Salary Cap Questions: What To Expect From The Chiefs In February

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Dec 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) catches a pass and runs the ball as Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (57) defends during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


In many ways, what the Chiefs are able to do this offseason completely depends on how they decide to handle Dwayne Bowe’s contract. Bowe is entering the third year of a five-year deal that makes him the second highest paid player on the team. There is no question he is the best receiver on the team but his production does not match that of a guy who will carry a $14 million salary cap tag in 2015.

The options are four options for the Chiefs.

First, the Chiefs could keep him and try to find space in other ways. Bowe is the best receiver on the team and Alex Smith will at least need one reliable receiver to pair up with the likely youth movement that’s about to overtake the Chiefs’ receiving corp. Take away Bowe in the next four weeks and the Chiefs are living on a prayer at wide receiver.

Next, the Chiefs could try and ask Bowe to take a pay cut. The issue here is if the salary reduction will be enough for it to be meaningful to the Chiefs’ cap. Consider that if the Chiefs cut Bowe then he’s likely the second or third best receiver on the market. We can assume Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas are going nowhere and there is potential Cobb may stay in Green Bay. Even Jeremy Maclin may stay in Philadelphia. At that point Bowe would be one of the prime receiver targets on the market, and with several teams around the league desperately needing help at receiver Bowe may end up only taking a minimal pay cut from what he’s scheduled to make right now.

In other words, Bowe’s position is likely either going to be ‘pay me what you signed me for or cut me.’

The next option is to designate Bowe as a June 1 cut, save a potential $11 million against the cap, and take the plunge into the wide receiver abyss heading into free agency and the draft. Cutting Bowe in addition to the Mays/Avery/Daniel/Jenkins cuts would ensure the Chiefs have enough money to sign or franchise Hudson and Houston. But it would also mean KC could very easily enter 2015 without a single proven wide receiver. Again, there are no guarantees Jeremy Maclin or Randall Cobb will even be available to sign as a free agent let alone propose a deal they choose to accept. That’s a massive risk to take.

What seems like the most likely route Dorsey takes is the one he took with Brandon Flowers. Last year the Chiefs held onto Flowers’ cap number through the offseason while they added some defensive back pieces in the draft and free agency. It was clear Dorsey and Reid were comfortable with what they had outside of Flowers during their evaluation period in May and early June, which led them to cut Flowers. The money saved went towards new contracts for Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Anthony Sherman, and Allen Bailey. Considering the Chiefs will have to start focusing on new contracts for Dontari Poe and other pending 2016 free agents this summer, that $11 million would be useful.

It would seem likely Bowe is a Chief for at least a few more months after March 10.

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