The K.C. Chiefs entered the offseason looking to get under a new (and much lower) salary cap ceiling heading into the 2021 NFL season. A few days from a new league year, and general manager Brett Veach has the Chiefs ready to spend a little money instead.
Earlier this month, the Chiefs announced a restructured deal with superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes that gave him bonus money up front and allowed the franchise to instead bank that amount over the next few years against the cap. Now they’ve done the same, to varying degrees, with tight end Travis Kelce and pass rusher Chris Jones.
Given their starting position of $18 million over the cap in February, the Chiefs have shifted approximately $40 million or more with these restructured deals and the releases of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. The long-awaited contract extension for safety Tyrann Mathieu could give the Chiefs even more salary cap space, if that’s how they want to structure a deal. It’s possible the Chiefs piece together the sort of money required to ink one of the biggest prizes in free agency–perhaps a guard like Joe Thuney or a tackle like Trent Williams.
It’s also possible, however, that the Chiefs are giving themselves room to operate for the rest of the year. The draft is going to require a few million to sign the class, and the Chiefs will also have money to seize on other veterans who are cut from their teams after the draft. The Chiefs could be saving for those instances while also retaining the ability to go shopping in free agency’s second wave after the big dollars have been spent and some worthy players are left wondering where their money is at in an fiscally-constrained year.
The Chiefs have restructured contracts with Chris Jones and Travis Kelce.
Either way, the availability of money looks very good at this time of year heading into the legal free agent “tampering” period, especially when juxtaposed with where the Chiefs were just a few weeks ago. The Chiefs knew this was coming and likely had the groundwork laid for these restructured contracts over the last several weeks or even months.
We’ll find out soon enough why Brett Veach wanted some more money to play with.