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KC Chiefs Salary Cap Explained


Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli talked with 810 WHB's The Border Patrol on Tuesday morning and clarified some of the confusion surrounding the Chiefs salary cap. ESPN and others have reported the Chiefs as having $63 million in cap space.

That's accurate -- sort of. It's the correct number as of this moment. But, as Pioli explains, it will change quickly. Like this week.

"Here's what happens," Pioli told Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. "At this point in time, the NFL has not completely reconciled the cap for 2012. And what I mean by saying that is that any incentives that were earned by players for teams in 2011 -- and let's just say a player had a Pro Bowl incentive in their contract for $200,000 -- because that happens after the season and all incentives in 2011 are reconciled during the month February, that isn't yet showing against the 2012 cap that's on the books with the league office where these people get their numbers from.

"The other thing that happens is any players that have Paragraph 5 escalators, which are base salary escalators, for the 2012 sason, even if that triggered back in 2010, 2009 or this past season, those numbers aren't showing against the cap yet."

But, as Pioli explains, that number will change quickly.

"In our case, it was showing that we had $63 million in cap space," Pioli continued. "The reality is that, that's true in that moment but, on the first day of the league year, the number of escalators and bonuses from last year will be netted out.

"So say for instance, what we have is $63 million in cap space showing with the league. However, there are $18 million in escalators that seven different players have earned -- contracts on some players that were done four years ago -- but even though they triggered, it hasn't been netted against the cap yet.

"So we've got $18 million in escalators, another $5 million of incentives that were earned last season that will count against that, plus what we don't have is our restricted free agent tenders. What that number is, is approximately $25 million against the $63 million that isn't showing yet."

He says that the $63 million dollar in cap space is accurate -- as of today. But by the time the league year starts in March, that number will change drastically. Pioli said $25 million in escalators and incentives, which puts the number at $38 million. The KC Star did the math on all this earlier in the week and showed that it's really closer to $37 million, so close enough.

The salary cap is kinda like taxes -- the system is so confusing that only a small percentage of people truly understand it.

Unless you play with those big calculators all day and call yourself a tax accountant like Ms. Primetime.

It's Game Time.

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