Kansas City Chiefs rumors: Tamba Hali predicted as “surprise cut”

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Brock Osweiler
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Brock Osweiler /

Bleacher Report put together a list of potential NFL surprise cuts this offseason, and Tamba Hali of the Chiefs is one of the players mentioned.

A recent column by Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport brings up an important idea: surprise roster cuts. Every offseason brings at least one or more for each team, and the Kansas City Chiefs have already shocked fans with the release of defensive lineman Jaye Howard (and perhaps running back Jamaal Charles if you thought they might just restructure). Could Tamba Hali be the next one?

That’s what Davenport is guessing as he includes Hali, one of the team’s all-time pass rushers, on his list. He writes:

"It tells you everything you need to know that in Kansas City’s playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers—the team’s biggest game of the 2016 season—Hali was on the field for all of seven snaps.That from a player who signed a three-year, $21 million extension just one year ago. A player who carries the fifth-highest cap hit on the Chiefs this season.That contract would leave the Chiefs saddled with over $7 million in dead money if they cut Hali after June 1, and the team would save only about $1.25 million in doing so."

That’s the issue for the Chiefs at this point — that there’s so little savings to be had by setting Hali free. It speaks volumes that they could save even more by releasing either their kicker or punter than Hali. The move simply doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint.

Even more, Hali was far more productive than the average fan (and certainly the casual observer) would realize. The stat sheet is flat out lying when it comes to Hali’s production last year. A quick look at Hali’s 3.5 sack total from 2016 would make it easy to assume that age is catching up with the veteran and that it’s time for the Chiefs to move on, but even with less snaps than ever, Hali still had 45 quarterback pressures, and ranked among the NFL’s top 20 in pass rushing grades, per Pro Football Focus.

At this point, Hali is a situational pass rusher, but he’s one the Chiefs have to depend upon for at least another year. The finances dictate that he’s an important player on the roster and the stats back it up. Hali is likely only a few milliseconds from his sack total being 8 instead of 4, as he’s collapsing the pocket about as well as he ever has. The Chiefs are keeping him fresh, which means he’s going to remain an asset for K.C., even if official stats elude him.