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Kansas City Chiefs don't need as much cap space for draft picks as you think

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With the Kansas City Chiefs having a whopping 10 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, their cap number to sign those rookies is just over $6 million. That seems like a problem because the Chiefs have just under $3 million in cap space, according to the numbers released by the NFLPA.

The Chiefs actually don't need $6 million more in space to sign their rookies. They need about $2 million.

Over The Cap does a nice job explaining this but during the offseason only the top 51 contracts count towards the salary cap. So even though the Chiefs have 78 players under contract, only the top 51 players count towards the salary cap. When the Chiefs sign their first round pick, that player will enter into the top 51 contracts on the team so he will count against the cap. The key is that the draft pick is also knocking off someone else off at the end of the top 51. So the $1.5 million a first round pick might cost would actually be $1 million, once you subtract the difference with the 51st player knocked off.

Over The Cap has the Chiefs rookie pool at $6.3 million. They say the Chiefs "effective cap cost" for draft picks will end up being just over $2 million, once your factor in the net differences.

Even though the cost of draft picks is less than we might think, the Chiefs are still tight up against the cap. Chiefs GM John Dorsey is a smart guy and he knows this so the Chiefs likely have options available to them if they run into a situation where they need more space. For example, restructuring Alex Smith's contract could create over $8 million in cap space immediately and then there's the status of Eric Berry's contract, which is an unknown right now.