The Kansas City Chiefs have been throwing money around like a drunken bachelor on the night before his wedding. It has been a whirlwind of activity, with new contracts totaling in excess of $100 million. General manager John Dorsey, who most expected to be tight-fisted this offseason, has come out swinging with the pizazz of a man who appears hellbent on an AFC West title.
After acquiring Jeremy Maclin, Ben Grubbs, Paul Fanaika and Tyvon Branch, and keeping Ron Parker and Josh Mauga, the Chiefs have $2.51 million of cap space, the third-lowest total in the NFL, according to Over The Cap. With an incoming draft class expected to cost Kansas City approximately $4.5 million, moves will be made to free up additional money for those men.
However, let's say for a minute that Dorsey decides Stefen Wisniewski would look dashing in red, perhaps to the tune of $4 million. Some would say it is seemingly impossible without jettisoning a quality player. Some would be wrong.
Here are three ways Kansas City can create ample cap space without losing anybody:
Alex Smith restructure
The Chiefs hold the option of turning Smith's base salary into a bonus, which would save the team a whopping $8.1 million against the cap in 2015. By doing so, more guaranteed money would be pushed into 2017, making him harder to move on from after 2016.
Justin Houston extension
This is the elephant in the room. Houston is sitting on a $13.1 million cap number because of the non-exclusive franchise tag, which he is yet to sign. If Dorsey and Houston's agent, Joel Segal, can come to an agreement on a long-term deal, Houston's number would easily go down $5 or $6 million in 2015. This doesn't seem likely to get done before July, however, so don't be banking on this.
Extend Sean Smith
Smith is one of the most underrated players in football, at any position. After shutting down receivers as the team's top corner last year, Smith has more than proven his worth in two years with the Chiefs. His contract calls for him to be paid $7.5 million this year before hitting free agency. At 27 years old, Smith is likely to have another solid season and then get PAID. Dorsey would be wise to lock up Smith through the rest of his prime, lowering his cap hit approximately $4-6 million this year. This is the most likely scenario, in my opinion.