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NFL salary cap will rise in 2016, Chiefs will need to pay these free agents

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 salary cap is at $143 million this year and it's expected to be between $147-153 million in 2016, according to a report from NFL Network's Albert Breer.

According to Over The Cap, the Chiefs are only spending roughly $120 million of the $143 million cap right now because they have $20 million in "dead money", which is cap money committed to players no longer on the team (like $9 million to Dwayne Bowe, $4 million to Brandon Flowers and $2.25 million to Anthony Fasano). That dead money ranks seventh highest in the NFL. Not good.

The good news is that the Chiefs 2016 dead money is, as of now, set to significantly shrink. It will rise as the Chiefs make their roster moves next year but right now they are projected to have the least amount of dead money in the NFL next year under $200,000 as Bowe and others come off the books.

That's good because the Chiefs have a few free agent decisions to make next year, including S Eric Berry, LB Derrick Johnson, CB Sean Smith, LG Jeff Allen, S Husan Abdullah and DT Jaye Howard, who all have expiring contracts.

The Chiefs are reportedly already talking to Howard's camp about a new deal. Some of these players, such as CB Sean Smith, could be heading to free agency because they have played well enough they might be too rich for the Chiefs blood.

There are other free agents to consider, including QB Chase Daniel, S Tyvon Branch, DE Mike DeVito, WR Jason Avant, LB Frank Zombo, LT Donald Stephenson, , CB Jamell Fleming, LB Dezman Moses and DE David King.

I haven't mentioned LB Tamba Hali, who is not technically scheduled to be a free agent but will once his contract voids.

Even if the Chiefs don't re-sign those players, they'll be spending money on someone to replace them.

The Chiefs have $115 million committed to 2016 players, which is the eighth least in the NFL as of now. If the cap is roughly $150 million, that leaves them $35-ish million to deal with. That money will be used to pay their own free agents as well as sign other free agents.

Any no-brainer decisions you see among the Chiefs free agents listed?

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