The Kansas City Chiefs have made some very important contractual decisions in recent offseasons, including this one, that will pay off for years to come.
When I first set out to write this article, I was originally thinking about some of the less favorable contracts the Kansas City Chiefs have on their books. With the focus on contract talks with Orlando Brown Jr., I wanted to see if there were any ugly deals that could potentially hinder the chance to ink a deal with a key piece of the offensive line.
The Frank Clark situation sprung to mind initially, and I figured that there would be some other deals that, in retrospect, would look like bad decisions. But as I looked through the numbers, I was surprised by what I found, the exact opposite of what I was looking for.
As I looked through the numbers, I was surprised by what I found: the exact opposite of what I was looking for. What stood out to me was there really weren’t as many ‘bad’ contracts as I thought there would be. Instead, I noticed one contract that wasn’t as bad as I remembered and another that seems like it will only get better and better. And lastly, it made me think about one contract decision the Chiefs decided not to make and how it might be a blessing in disguise.
It wasn’t what I was expecting, but what stood out to me were three contract decisions that could pay off for the Chiefs in the long run.
Clark arrived in Kansas City from Seattle as a big deal. Given the size of his contract, it was expected that he would be a star at edge for the Chiefs and that he’d partner with Chris Jones to give the Chiefs one of the most dangerous d-lines in football.
Since his arrival though, it would be kind to say his time in K.C. has been underwhelming. While he unquestionably played a crucial role in the playoffs during the franchise’s Super Bowl championship—something you could say is worth any amount of money—he has failed to live up to his contract outside of that.
Clark’s contract was the first one that sprang to mind when I was thinking about ugly deals on K.C.’s books, but a restructuring this offseason has turned a massive problem into something far more favorable. Clark earned $19,300,000 against the cap in 2020 and a whopping $25,800,000 in 2021—more than 12% of total cap space—with just 10.5 sacks over that two-year span.
The 29-year-old was set to earn a similar amount this season but a restructure has helped make the best of a bad situation by reducing some of that financial burden. Clark’s guaranteed salary has dropped from $18 million to just under $4 million, with incentives added, resulting in a significant increase in cap space. The restructure freed up around $12 million, money that could be vital in potentially re-signing Brown or helping to create the room for the Chiefs to sign the likes of Justin Reid or JuJu Smith-Schuster.
While the initial deal had some bite to it, the restructure certainly makes a bad deal a whole lot more palatable.