What’s next for Cairo Santos and the Kansas City Chiefs?
By Britt Zank
Long-term deals with kickers of his caliber aren’t cheap and thus the reason for the Chiefs tender offer this off-season. The Chiefs are hoping no other team offers Santos a deal and they can get him on a one year $1.797 million deal and spend the next year working on a new long term contract. The Chiefs will have more cap room next off-season and will be in a better position to offer him the long term contract he deserves.
It is a good deal for Santos as well because he knows he has a guaranteed contract for him in K.C. but he can still test the free agency waters. If he can find someone to offer him a bigger deal, then either the Chiefs would have to match or he can go to the new team. Either way he’ll get compensated well and be on a team he knows wants him.
The risk for the Chiefs comes in if Santos does find that deal. With as solid as Santos has been and as much as they rely on him for offense, they can’t let him walk. They would have to match the offer. Then they are trying to make that offer fit into their already tight cap situation. It can be done and the Chiefs would do it, but it’s not the ideal situation.
I have no doubt that Santos will be the Chiefs kicker in 2017 and beyond. But with all the work and time spent signing Eric Berry and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the Chiefs haven’t had time to get to every long term deal negotiated. Without the tender getting placed, Santos would become an unrestricted free agent and the Chiefs would lose the right to first refusal.
So, yes, they are risking someone setting a high number for Santos that the Chiefs will have to match. But the Chiefs have options to create the necessary space (e.g. release Nick Foles) if someone gives Santos an offer sheet. So have no fear Chiefs fans; one way or another the Brazilian Bomber will continue to kick for the red and gold.