4. Figure out what Mitchell Schwartz wants to do
Mitchell Schwartz has been an All-Pro caliber right tackle for the Chiefs and, beyond that, he is just a really great guy. I get that football is a business, but the last thing I want is for the Chiefs to play hardball with Schwartz. However, his $9.8 million cap hit is significant enough that they need to know what his plans are going forward.
If Schwartz is going to retire, it would free up some space for them and that is that. If he wants to play then things get a little more complicated. How healthy is he? While I’m not an expert on the rules, I believe that if Schwartz is not fully healthy, it prevents the Chiefs from outright cutting him and clearing his salary. Schwartz would have to agree to an injury settlement.
If Schwartz wants to play next season and both he and the Chiefs believe he will be healthy, then the Chiefs can decide if the $9.8 million cap hit is worth it. The Chiefs could save $6 million of that by releasing him, but the team might not want to.
Since it is the final year of Schwartz’ deal, restructuring isn’t an option, but if he’s interested in playing multiple seasons, the Chiefs could give him an extension that cuts his 2021 number. Veach could even get creative and structure the deal so that K.C. could easily move on before it’s over (or with the idea that Schwartz will likely retire before it is over).
There are multiple ways this situation could play out, but the Chiefs will likely want to know what direction they need to plan for before the rest of their free agent decisions have to be made. There is room to clear some salary cap space with Schwartz, but of all the moves on this list, his is the most complicated.
Next up, another offensive lineman the Chiefs need to figure out a plan with.