Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt says the team is in its best salary cap shape in a few years. The Chiefs current regime took over in 2013 with a lot of cap space at the time but also with a lot of holes to fill. These Chiefs have proven the ability to contend in the playoffs and there's some cap space to work with, reportedly around $30 million.
"Free agency and the cap are a challenge every year," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said on 810 WHB last week (H/T Adam Teicher). "Last year, we had Justin Houston as a free agent and we knew that was going to be very expensive. He was someone we definitely wanted to bring back we were glad to have him back.
"We have a number of free agents this year, important players. We are in pretty good cap shape, maybe the best cap shape we've been in for a few years. Certainly, getting those players re-signed is going to be a big priority for us here over the next couple of months.''
The Chiefs have a lot of cap space but those players Clark refers to include key players Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Sean Smith, Jaye Howard and others. The Chiefs certainly won't be able to sign all of them even with their cap space.
Something that didn't get talked about enough last year was the amount of dead money the Chiefs had. Dead money is salary cap space devoted to players no longer on the roster (hi, Dwayne Bowe). Last year alone, the following players accounted for more than $1 million in cap space: Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Flowers, Anthony Fasano, Vance Walker, Ryan Succop and Joe Mays. Flowers and D-Bowe combined for almost $13 million. None of those players were Chiefs last year.
This year, the Chiefs dead money is under control. There will be cuts to come that add to the total but as of now it's a little more than a quarter million in dead money, according to Over The Cap. My analysis of this difference is that $20 million is a shitload of money and using it on players actually on the team is a good thing (you get the analysis you pay for here, folks). A lot of that space will be taken up by a big jump in Justin Houston's cap number ($19 million) so it's not really like you have all this extra money to spend; you already dropped it on Houston and Alex Smith.