7 highest-paid Kansas City Chiefs players going into 2024

Let's look at who is taking up most of the salary cap space for the upcoming season.
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Let's look at who is taking up most of the salary cap space for the upcoming season.

As we survey the financial landscape ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs for 2024, fans are likely wondering where the highest-priced ticket from this offseason is in the rankings. However, the $30M annual price tag owed to Chris Jones really doesn't kick in until next season, which leaves the team's best defender on the outside looking in of this year's big-ticket items.

Here's a rundown of the top seven cap hits that Chiefs owe for the 2024 campaign (per Spotrac).

1. Patrick Mahomes, quarterback

Cap Hit: $37M
Cap %: 13.5

The best player in the game of football costs the most on his team. Go figure.

Honestly, is there any angle from which Patrick Mahomes' massive 10-year deal doesn't look like the best contract in professional sports? Mahomes is the closest thing this generation will come to watching Michael Jordan with his late-game heroics and ubiquitous brand.

A contract amount like the one given to Mahomes was supposed to suffocate a team's chances at building a competitive roster, but just tell that to the hand holding up three rings and counting.

2. Joe Thuney, offensive line

Cap Hit: $26.97M
Cap %: 10.56

Few teams have their left guard as their second-most expensive cap hit, but few teams have the level of elite interior line play as the Chiefs do.

Thuney landed a massive free agent deal of five years worth up to $80 million back in 2021 and after lower cap amounts in each of the first three years, these final two contractual years are both loaded to the tune of over $26M. While it's a major gut punch in terms of total amount, the Chiefs have to be thrilled with the level of excellence up front that Thuney has provided since his arrival.

Side note: Thuney's postseason pectoral injury has kept him from practicing with the team during OTAs and mandatory minicamp. If it remains an issue into the preseason and beyond, the Chiefs might have some real considerations to make regarding the future of this deal. GIven Thuney's durability up until now, however, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

3. Jawaan Taylor, offensive line

Cap Hit: $24.7M
Cap %: 9.7

If there's a single figure on this list that leads to head-scratching, it's this one. In the spring of 2023, Brett Veach followed through on a vision he had to remake the bookend positions in front of Patrick Mahomes. His primary catch was to cement the acquisition of Jawaan Taylor away from the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency in much the same way he'd convinced Joe Thuney to join the team when remaking the interior.

So far, that vision looks a little fuzzy, although this team won another Super Bowl all the same. Taylor's body of work shows all of the athleticism and pass blocking prowess that earned him a massive deal in the place but penalties and miscues plagued Taylor on the right side—even after accounting for the ridiculous way officials would hover around.

4. Travis Kelce, tight end

Cap Hit: $19.55M
Cap %: 7.7

It's nice to see Kelce on this list after getting a nice boost via a restructured deal from Clark Hunt. The Chiefs' primary pass catcher has been a consistent force on multiple Super Bowl winners, and there are very good reasons to believe this next year or two will be just as productive. Yes, he was injured in part last year and, yes again, he's in his mid-thirties. But a righteous tear through the postseason shows he's unstoppable when he's motivated and a lasting legacy is in his sights.

5. Justin Reid, safety

Cap Hit: $14.25M
Cap %: 5.58

Here's where things get interesting, where some fans might have gone wrong if trying to make a list of their own. That's because safety is a position where teams typically stay thrifty and the market remains a bit more depressed than other roles on the field.

The Chiefs are cheap in the secondary as they're loaded with young, cost-controlled talent, but they seem to like employing a strong veteran leader to lead the safety corps. Tyrann Mathieu was present before Reid and now the latter is coming into his contract season, which means the Chiefs will have another big choice after this year. Will they lean on Bryan Cook or, say, Jaden HIcks when Reid's deal is up?

6. Charles Omenihu, defensive end

Cap Hit: $10.98M
Cap %: 4.3

This is another interesting financial hit on the defensive side but for opposite reasons of the last entry. The positional fit here is solid, since pass rushers should cost a team, but the problem is that Omenihu's availability is in question for much of the 2024 season.

The truth is that no one knows when Charles Omenihu will be back on the field—including Charles Omenihu. Given the severity of the injury—a torn ACL—the only path forward for the veteran pass rusher is to put in the work each and every day and follow the orders of trainers and doctors who tell him when to push things in recovery and when to rest.

Everything sounds good so far in terms of Omenihu's rehab work, so it would make sense to expect him back by midseason. It's a big cap hit for limited availability but injuries are no one's fault. It's just the risk inherent in the game itself.

7. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, wide receiver

Cap Hit: $8.2M
Cap %: 3.2

The idea of Marquise Brown taking up the seventh most cap space on the Chiefs sounds about right on the surface—that is, until you realize that he's playing on a single season, buy-low deal in the hopes of reversing his fortunes on the open market one year from now. (Think: JuJu Smith-Schuster two years ago.)

If it sounds as if Brown is making a lot now, he's hoping to secure at least 2-3x that amount across multiple seasons when needy franchises go shopping nine months from now. Such is the wide receiver market where even the $30M ceiling annually has been shattered with the latest round of extensions.