From the FanPosts -Joel
A lot of people were up in arms at the release of veteran WR Jeremy Maclin on Friday. While a little shocking, there were plenty of reasons to justify the divorce between him and the Chiefs. At the center of it has to be some difficult cap decisions that the Chiefs will be facing in 2018. If you were sad to see Maclin go, there's a chance you're going to be in for some difficult times both this year and next.
Per Over the Cap, the Chiefs currently are projected to have -$638,000 in salary cap for the 2018 season. Yikes. There are going to be some hard decisions to be made over the next two years. Unfortunately, the most expendable Chiefs are names that will be in the Ring of Honor someday.
Here are some moves that are very feasible (dare I say likely) in the next two season.
The Chiefs release Dustin Colquitt
Cairo Santos was innocently on the Chiefs 90-man roster as a camp leg to go with incumbent Ryan Succop. Until the Chiefs surprisingly released Succop and went with the rookie. Will Monday is innocently on the Chiefs roster as a young, inexpensive potential replacement to Colquitt. Why would the Chiefs release Colquitt in 2017? If the Chiefs can accumulate more cap in 2017, they can carry it over to 2018. With the release of Colquitt, the Chiefs would have a projected $14,980,426 this season to spend on this year's team or carry over to the '18 cap.
The Chiefs release or trade Alex Smith
He's carving a career out as being a football team starter kit. Bring in Alex Smith, stabilize the quarterback position with conservative play, and win enough games to take your team to their next chapter. This is, by far, the most obvious way for the Chiefs to save money next year. By releasing or trading Smith, the Chiefs will save $17,000,000 in cap space. The hope for Chiefs fans should be that Smith plays well enough to warrant a 3rd or 4th round pick as compensation for one year of service for his next team. Regardless, it's going to be very difficult to see Smith on the roster in any capacity next season.
The Chiefs release Derrick Johnson
Another very obvious option. Regardless of whether Johnson can overcome his injury from 2016, this is another easy way to save money. Cutting Johnson loose after the season would net the Chiefs $8,000,000 in cap space. A lifelong Chief could be on the way out at the end of the 2017 season.
The Chiefs release Tamba Hali
The fourth and final move to save the Chiefs from their 2018 crisis. This will be first time the Chiefs are realistically able to get out from under the odd timing and negotiations of his contract from a few years ago. Cutting another lifelone Chief in Hali after the 2017 season would net $7,000,000 in savings against the cap.
Total Potential 2018 Cap Room: $46,342,193
All these moves could give the Chiefs flexibility to find replacements for Johnson and Hali and fill roster holes going into next season. There are also potential contract extensions that the Chiefs could be gearing up for like Marcus Peters, Mitch Morse and Dee Ford. I saw someone say the Chiefs are subtly in rebuild mode this year. To some extent, they're right. The move for Pat Mahomes is a prime example. Making hard decisions in the name of cap space for 2018 could help them change the direction of the organization without too many hiccups, and issue in a new era for the organization.