Kansas City Chiefs salary cap situation gives them lots of options

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Brett Veach, General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs shakes hands with a fan before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Brett Veach, General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs shakes hands with a fan before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 27: Defensive back Xavier Rhodes #29 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts to his holding penalty in front of wide receiver Brandin Cooks #12 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 27: Defensive back Xavier Rhodes #29 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts to his holding penalty in front of wide receiver Brandin Cooks #12 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Since taking over the general manager position from John Dorsey, Veach has been very aggressive when it comes to pursuing players that he wants in K.C. He traded up in the draft for players he wanted last year and has not been afraid to spend big in free agency on players like Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens, and Tyrann Mathieu—players he felt would be a good fits in Kansas City. So now that he finds himself with plenty of cap space it is certainly possible that Veach could decide to make a deal for a big name player (likely on defense) that he feels could help the Chiefs contend for a Super Bowl this season.

While speculating on what player the Chiefs might covet and who’s current team would be willing to trade them is nearly impossible, here are a few names you frequently hear talked about and how they would easily fit under the cap for the Chiefs.

Patrick Peterson – CB – Arizona

Peterson is a name you often hear mentioned as a trade option due to the team’s rebuilding status in Arizona and rumors of his desire to go elsewhere. Peterson will turn 29 this summer but is still one of the best cover corners in the league. He has two years left on his contract with Arizona and, were the Chiefs to trade for him, the cap hits for the next two seasons would be roughly $11 million and $12.5 million respectively. So the Chiefs could trade for an elite cover corner and still have over $10 million in available cap space before the Eric Berry money kicks in on June 2nd.

Xavier Rhodes – CB – Minnesota

Another corner that has made some news recently is Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes, who was called out by head coach Mike Zimmer as needing to play up to his contract. Rhodes will also turn 29 this summer, but his current contract has four years left on his deal with Minnesota—versus Peterson’s two years remaining. If the Chiefs traded for him, the cap hits for those four seasons would range roughly between $10 million and $13 million. Again, the Chiefs could afford to trade for him this offseason and still have plenty of room under the cap to maneuver.

Jadeveon Clowney – DE – Houston

Perhaps the biggest name I’ve heard mentioned as a possible target for the Chiefs is Houston’s Clowney a freakish edge defender who was franchise tagged by Houston this offseason even as questions linger as to the team’s desire for a long-term commitment.

Clowney is just 26 years old and would likely excel in the Chiefs new defense as both a run defender in the base 4-3 under and as a pass rusher in sub packages. The current franchise tag number on Clowney is almost $16 million so the Chiefs have room to fit that in, although they would likely turn around and sign him to a long term deal if they are giving up the assets needed to acquire him.

It’s hard to say what his cap number would be at that point but it isn’t unreasonable to think that Clowney’s deal could average around $20 million per year. He would definitely be the biggest financial commitment of these three. My biggest doubt about this happening isn’t the money though, it’s the idea of a fellow AFC contender trading an elite talent to a team that was already in the AFC title game last season.

The bottom line here is that the Chiefs could easily afford to fit a big time player under the cap with their current situation, even if that player required a new long term contract. Not only does Kansas City have the space this seasons, they have plenty of space moving forward with only 13 players currently under contract past the 2020 season. So regardless of if it is one of these three players I listed or someone that nobody is currently talking about, the Chiefs have plenty of cap space to make a big move.

Another option is focusing on the guys that are already on the roster.