Three months after releasing safety Eric Berry, the Kansas City Chiefs are finally going to see the cap space relief they apparently wanted in 2019.
The Kansas City Chiefs are enjoying nearly $10 million more in salary cap space than they had yesterday, thanks to the timing of the NFL’s post-June 1 option that allows teams to designate the timing of a player’s release on the books. It’s a bit confusing, to be sure, but by designating former safety Eric Berry’s release as a post-June 1 cut, the Chiefs are allowed to avoid the hit of Berry’s dead money in 2019.
The Chiefs will pay the price in 2020 instead, but that means for this season, general manager Brett Veach now has $9.55 million (to be exact) more at his disposal to use this summer.
The most interesting part about this designation is that there’s nothing quite obvious about the reason for so much cap space. The Chiefs were up against the cap several months ago, but now they sit with plenty of space given the likely level of roster moves still to come. The Chiefs have a single third round rookie left to sign in Khalen Saunders and players who are cut from other teams into training camp and beyond are unlikely to cost tens of millions.
At this point, however, the Chiefs have nearly $25 million in cap space, per Spotrac. The team will need money for any extension for defensive lineman Chris Jones. If any potential trade for a corner like Patrick Peterson also arises, Veach will need money there, too. But $25 million is a lot at this point in the calendar. It’s major space for a major move (or two) on a roster that’s largely settled—or at least seems to be.
Veach now has lots of flexibility to bolster the roster not only in training camp but in the days leading up to the NFL’s trade deadline, and perhaps that’s Veach’s biggest goal. As injuries occur and roster weaknesses are identified on the field, Veach now has the resources to go out and solidify those holes. That’s not a bad idea given the extreme defensive makeover the Chiefs are attempting to pull off in a single year.