Reviewing the KC Chiefs largest 2023 salary cap hits
#4: Joe Thuney, Left Guard: $22,116,250
I won’t spend nearly as much time on the final two players as I have on the first three. Joe Thuney is currently projected to have the highest cap hits out of any Guard in the NFL in 2023 at over $22M. He’s well worth the money as he’s the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL and was named a second-team all-pro this past season.
There’s not much that the Chiefs can do to alter the cap charge as he’s too far out for an extension (his contract expires after 2025) and they restructured his contract last year, so his 2024 and 2025 cap hits would increase to over $27M if so. They would all lose cap space in the case of a pre-June 1 release and would only clear $500k with a post-June 1 release. His contract is standing pat this year.
#5: Travis Kelce, Tight End: $14,801,944
One of the biggest values in the entire NFL is tight end Travis Kelce. He’s never made more than $12M in a single season, before 2023, and he’s recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last seven seasons.
He’s pegged to have a $14.801944M cap hit ($11.25M in base salary, $2.552M in prorated bonuses, and $1M in other bonuses) in 2023. If the Chiefs really want to create cap space with Kelce’s contract, they could do a base salary restructure and convert $11.085M of his 2023 salary and bonuses to a signing bonus and clear $6.89M. I think this is a good idea because there’s a relatively small amount of dead money in 2024 ($5.1M) and 2025 ($2.55M) so pushing money into future years won’t be a significant issue.
If the Chiefs were to do each of the four suggested moves stated in this article, they would go from -$3.5M in cap space to $57.1M without losing a single player. Granted, their 2024 cap room would go from $112.9M to $71.3M (with only 24 players on the roster), but it’s easier to make everything work when there’s that much room to work with and the NFL salary cap is relatively fluid.
Will the Chiefs make additional transactions that affect their financial situation? 100% but these were some moves that involved their highest-paid players and what kind of room they could open up by making them. When you have Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback, you have to be willing to make some risky decisions to ensure that a Super Bowl-caliber team takes the field every season.