The Kansas City Chiefs signed wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in 2022, adding a potential out after this season. Is MVS a roster lock for 2023?
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was one of the team’s biggest free-agent signings this past offseason. After finishing his rookie deal with the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City signed MVS to a three-year, $30 million contract. That deal is the new normal for NFL wide receivers, but Kansas City put its own insurance in the deal.
After the 2022 season, Spotrac projects the Chiefs have a “potential out” of MVS’ deal.
This upcoming offseason would be the best time to release MVS if the Chiefs wanted to. If Kansas City cuts MVS after June 1, 2023, they could save $9 million in 2023, but incur a $2 million dead cap in 2023 and 2024. All in all, they would have $21 million in added cap space between 2023 and 2024.
Would the Chiefs really release MVS after this season, all in the name of saving money? In the grand scheme of things, it would not be shocking.
MVS’ salary and cap hit drastically increase after 2022. For example, MVS’ cap hit increases from $4.88 million in 2022 to $11 million in 2023. His cap hit increases yet again in 2024 to $14 million. While the NFL salary cap will rise as well, MVS’ contract could limit the Chiefs financially in 2023 and 2024. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is known for backloading players’ contracts, giving the team more financial flexibility in the present.
The question is whether MVS’ performance warrants his rising paycheck. He is clearly WR2 so far in 2022, with 369 receiving yards on 22 receptions. He is certainly stretching the field, as his 16.8 yards per reception lead the Chiefs. But he has not been a bell cow receiver either. His catch percentage is 57.9%, while wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster and tight end Travis Kelce both exceed 70%. There is still time this season to make changes, but MVS has some shortcomings on the field.
If releasing MVS meant keeping a more integral player or signing another one, then Veach needs to consider it. It would take the right situation for Veach to release MVS. But, it would be a sign of trust in Kansas City’s younger receiving corps or towards retaining Smith-Schuster beyond 2022. Chances are that MVS stays in Kansas City, but there are common-sense scenarios where he does not.