Looking at KC Chiefs' contract extension candidates and what they might get

Which Chiefs are likely candidates for the next contract extensions from Brett Veach?

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Nick Bolton

The Chiefs came into the '23 season with an abundance of young talent at linebacker after making successive Day 2 draft picks multiple years in a row. This coming offseason, however, will present the Chiefs with the challenge of seeing that talent leave the nest—at least in part.

Instead of coasting into a new year with Willie Gay Jr., Nick Bolton, Leo Chenal, and Drue Tranquill forming the deepest nucleus of talent at linebacker in years for the Chiefs, Steve Spagnuolo could easily find himself with only Bolton and Chenal when the dust settles on free agency. That might cause general manager Brett Veach to want to sign Bolton for the long-term.

Bolton was the team's first of two second-round picks back from the 2021 NFL Draft (along with Humphrey, whose case we've already discussed), and he immediately took on the role as the team's best tackler overall.

Bolton is not without his weaknesses, but he's the heart and soul of the defense as a leader and communicator who makes everyone around him better. His instincts are elite, even at an NFL level, and his experience should only take him further as he enters his third season in K.C.

Perhaps the Chiefs will want to see how Bolton rebounds a bit from an injury-plagued season (after missing several games with a wrist injury). Bolton had 7 missed tackles in 8 games, only 3 less than he had after playing all of last season. Given his liabilities in coverage, if he's going to slip at all as a tackler, there are some question marks. That said, given his reliability in the past, his youth, and his postseason showing, Bolton is still a very good long-term bet.

What could Bolton receive?

If the Chiefs want to get ahead of things for Bolton, who could find prices rising with a first Pro Bowl appearance this coming season, a deal in the range of Matt Milano of the Buffalo Bills would make sense. It makes no sense for the Chiefs to pay Roquan Smith money ($20M/season) or even Tremaine Edmunds ($17M+) since those guys are more decorated, but Milano's AAV in the $14M neighborhood should get something done.

Four years at $14.5M or so per season is a guess, but it really depends on how much the Chiefs value play in the second level if they're also not spending on Chris Jones up front or L'Jarius Sneed in back. Positionally we will find out a lot about what the Chiefs value in the next year or so with their long-term contracts