Further financial impact
The release of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz saved the team $18 million in cap space. But what’s also true here is they’re paying another $7 million or so in dead cap space to be cleared of those totals. That in itself is a lot of money and, when combined with the cap savings, shows just how much each player was making. Yes the Chiefs were going cheap along the offensive interior for most of Andy Reid’s tenure with the team, but that wasn’t true of the entire offensive line.
Just as the figures have tilted in a negative way toward left guard, things will also tilt toward the positive end at a couple new positions for the Chiefs. At one tackle spot, Lucas Niang sounds slated for a starting role given the lack of other options, the way the team has praised him as a burgeoning player, and the investment in 2020 in bringing him in.
If Niang is destined to start at right tackle, for instance, in 2021, his salary cap hit will be $870K this season. Get this, what makes it even better if he works out is that Niang’s cap hit will never be higher than $1.3 million until 2025 when he hits free agency. Basically for almost as long as Joe Thuney’s deal, the Chiefs are hoping right tackle delivers them solid results for pennies on the dollar–as in one tenth of what Schwartz was costing them outside.
The same can be said of any other position at which the Chiefs go young this offseason and that seems very likely either at center or left tackle. The Chiefs seem determined to use a high draft pick for at least one more spot along the offensive front, which means that’s another role in which the team will be paying very little for hopefully much better performance. And let’s not forget that Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is making a decent amount at nearly $5 million but he comes off the books entirely after this season.
In short, Thuney’s major price tag is likely going to be surrounded by younger and much cheaper teammates up front as the Chiefs overhaul the offensive line. All of this brings us to one more facet in which we can rest assured.