A week ago, we learned the Kansas City Chiefs had decided on their backup quarterback for the 2020 season: longtime NFL veteran Chad Henne. The re-signing of the ex-Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars put Matt Moore — the quarterback for two and a half 2019 games while filling in for the injured Patrick Mahomes — back on the street.
Now, however, we know the numbers for Henne’s new two-year contract — thanks to a report from Houston Chronicle NFL reporter (and certified salary-cap nerd) Aaron Wilson.
Chad Henne (Chiefs) two years, $3.25M, $2.75M gtd, $750K signing bonus, salaries $1.25M (gtd), $1.2M ($750K gtd if on roster 3rd day 2021; up to $2M playtime, playoffs incentive annual— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 23, 2020
The deal is worth $3.25 million, including a $750,000 signing bonus and $2.75 million guaranteed. His 2020 salary will be $1.25 million — which is guaranteed — and $750,000 of his $1.2 million 2021 salary will be guaranteed on the third day of the 2021 league year, giving the Chiefs the opportunity to walk away after 2020, leaving only $375,000 in dead money. In addition, the deal includes incentives for playing time and postseason appearances that could be worth as much as $2 million.
Here at Arrowhead Pride, we had conservatively estimated that the impact of Henne’s new contract on the team’s cap space would be at least $440,000. With the new deal’s $200,000 bump over the NFL minimum salary for a player of Henne’s experience — and the $750,000 signing bonus he received — his $1.6 million cap hit for the coming season reduces the team’s cap space by just over $1 million. That’s $575,000 more than our conservative estimate, and with the $2.6 million in cap space lost on Sunday, pushes our new calculation of the team’s cap space to $1.2 million OVER the cap — and likely more than that.
Henne’s 2020 cap hit might seem excessive to you. But according to Spotrac, it accounts for only 0.74% of the team’s total cap space. It’s worth noting that in 2013 — when Chase Daniel was signed to be the team’s backup quarterback — his $1.8 million cap hit was 1.3% of the team’s total cap obligations. During his three years on the team, it rose as high as 3.28%.
Considering Henne’s vast experience — and Mahomes’ rapport and trust with him — it might be that a backup quarterback taking up just 0.74% of the team’s cap isn’t just a bargain; it might actually be a steal.