The K.C. Chiefs and the rest of the NFL are now only a few weeks away from the official start of free agency. Two weeks ago, I wrote about what the Chiefs need to do to get themselves under the cap enough to be able to make a few moves and just last week I looked at some under-the-radar targets for the offensive side of the ball. This week, it’s time to do the same for the defense.
If you haven’t spent any time reading about the league’s salary cap situation or where the Chiefs currently stand, I broke it down a little in my piece on moves to get them under the cap. Here are the important key takeaways that really impact the players I selected as possible discount free agents both in this piece and my one for the offense last week.
First, the NFL is going to have an unprecedented decrease in salary cap this coming season. Dating back to 1994, the league had only seen one previous decrease in salary cap and that was when it went from $123 million in 2009 to an uncapped year in 2010 and then a $120 million cap in 2011. That’s it. Every other season dating back 27 years has seen an increase. So teams are going to have to make more cuts and be more thrifty in free agency to adjust for a salary cap number that will likely be about $15 million below what it was last season.
Second, with an increase of veteran players being released and more teams limited in what they can spend, there are going to be a lot of veteran players who will have to take either less per year or a one-year prove-it deal and then hope the cap rebounds next offseason when teams will be looking to hand out bigger deals. So the entire premise of this list of targets is that there will be some veteran players who will take short and cheap deals to get through this down free agent year.
Could one team decide to spend more money on one of these players? Sure, but none of the players on this list are at the top of most free agent lists at their positions, so with maybe one possible exception, I wouldn’t expect any of them to land big deals this offseason.
Once again I’m going to focus on the three positions that I think are the biggest need. In my opinion that is defensive end, linebacker, and cornerback. Let’s start with a couple of options that could help the Chiefs gain some much needed help rushing the passer.