Chiefs cap space: Be smart and save the money

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Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) celebrates after sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis (9) (not pictured) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The answer has less to do with this season and more to do with what comes after. The cap room created to potentially bring in Mathis came from the fact that Houston resigned at a very reduced rate for this season (cap hit of only $5.1 million). But that amount take a giant leap next season – $14 million cap hit leap to be exact – that is sustained throughout the rest of the contract. That means that K.C. already has $14 million less in cap to work with next year than they do this year.

And that other big signing this offseason, Jeremy Maclin? His cap hit goes up by $9 million next season. If you are keeping score at home, that means that Houston and Maclin will cost the Chiefs an extra $23 million in cap space next year.

And that $23 million could really come in handy when attempting to retain some of the many players who have a contract expiring after the 2015 season. Guys like Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, Jeff Allen, Sean Smith, Mike DeVito, Chase Daniel, and Tamba Hali. None of those guys are due for a big payday. Several might take reduced deals. But I am sure that the Chiefs would prefer to keep as many around they can.

But even if you cut some and reduce others, you are unlikely to get $23 million worth of saving from them (all seven together are only set to count roughly $35 million against the cap this season). And if Mathis is one more contract thrown into the mix next year, the Chiefs have an even bigger hole to climb out of in terms of the 2016 cap.

Next: Why K.C. should pass on Mathis