Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs were already in a bind when it comes to their salary cap when it was reported they ranked dead last in available money with $555K.
Since then, the team announced signings of wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, fullback Anthony Sherman and defensive tackle Mike Pennell – all on one-year deals. They also added a couple of free agents in offensive lineman Mike Remmers, cornerback Antonio Hamilton and quarterback Jordan Ta'amu. It's unclear how each of those contracts were written to affect the cap but as of Monday, the team remains at the bottom of the league in available cap with $177.
That's right, $177.
In many cases, that isn't enough cash to pay for the gameday experience at Arrowhead Stadium.
There is literally nothing a team can do with such a small number in cap space, so until the Chiefs make some cuts or restructure a contract or two, there's nothing they can really do.
One thing is nearly certain in that they will need to free up at least $5 million to compensate their picks in the upcoming draft.
Here are some of the best-suited contracts to create cap space:
Watkins is the most likely candidate to be released because taking his contract off the books will save the team $14 million in cap space next season. His two seasons in Kansas City have had ups and downs highlighted by an iconic catch and the Super Bowl and missed games due to injuries. It would be nice to see Watkins restructure his deal to stick around next season but I can't imagine what kind of pay cut he would be willing to take.
Many signs point to the right guard being traded or released before the draft including a handful of mock drafts projecting the Chiefs will select an interior offensive lineman in the early rounds. Duvernay-Tardif will cost the team nearly $7 million with his post-June 1 designation and has not played a full season in the last four years.
Other minor solutions
– Safety Daniel Sorensen could be released, saving the team around $3 million. Sorensen made some of the best plays of his career in the 2020 playoffs and would likely garner interest from other teams but the Chiefs may not want to lose another piece of their already thin secondary.
– Extending Patrick Mahomes' contract as many have speculated will happen before next season would give the Chiefs a good opportunity to strike a deal that gives them more breathing room this season.
– Restructuring the contracts of Travis Kelce, Anthony Hitchens, Eric Fisher or Tyrann Mathieu would also provide good amounts of cash to be added to the salary cap. The Chiefs already executed a maneuver to restructure defensive end Frank Clark's deal so it would not be too surprising to see it again.
Until we start seeing the Chiefs make these moves, it's safe to say there won't be much other news coming out of Arrowhead.
Jason Brown is the Sports Editor of the Leavenworth Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org