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Report: Chiefs restructure Frank Clark’s contract to get under salary cap

The Chiefs needed to be under the salary cap number by Wednesday at 3 p.m.

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs will be under the salary cap to start the 2020 league year, according to a new report from friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports.

They will do so by converting some of defensive end Frank Clark’s salary to a signing bonus, per Paylor. Clark had been due to make a $17 million base salary in 2020. Paying Clark a portion of that salary immediately (in the bonus) prorates the number through 2023.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Chiefs gave Clark $5 million by way of a signing bonus.

The number of years in Clark’s contract remain the same — he is still due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024. In short, what had been a $22.7 million cap hit for 2020 drops to $18.95 million, increasing the team’s cap space by $3.75 million.

The Chiefs needed a move thanks to the Rule of 51. That is, throughout the offseason, only the players with the 51 largest cap hits for the season are counted toward the salary cap. Those 51 players need to be under the salary cap number when the league year begins Wednesday at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time.

The NFL announced the salary cap number for this year is $198.2 million earlier this week. There are still a number of ways for the Chiefs to make more cap room, but this move at least gets them through to the new league year.