With the Kansas City Chiefs placing the franchise tag on Justin Houston, the clock is now ticking to one week from today, March 10. That is the start of free agency, and when the Chiefs need to be under the NFL's salary cap.
Currently, the Chiefs are believed to be about $7.5 million under the cap. That does not include Houston's franchise tag, which is $13.2 million. Once you include that franchise tender, which will count against the cap on March 10 whether Houston signs it or not, the Chiefs are around $6 million over the cap.
In other words, they have work to do.
Cutting a player with a high salary like Tamba Hali ($9M) would put the Chiefs under the threshold. They could also cut several players such as Dwayne Bowe ($5M), Mike DeVito ($4M) or Chase Daniel ($3.8M).
The Chiefs could cut a number of these players and create a lot of cap space; they could also try to retain many of these players and stay away from the big money in free agency. The fascinating part of the Chiefs offseason for me is that this thing can go so many different ways. There are so many different combinations of cuts or restructures the Chiefs could do to clear space.
Even more fascinating is that nobody seems to know what they'll do.