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Plotting the course for the Chiefs’ 4 exclusive rights free agents

More decisions the Chiefs will have to make before March 17.

NFL: OCT 06 Colts at Chiefs Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before the Kansas City Chiefs reach the beginning of the new league year (at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on March 17) they’ll need to make some decisions about the 10 players who are restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents. We’ve already covered the six restricted free agents here.

If the Chiefs do nothing, each of the remaining four players will become an unrestricted free agent. But by extending the right ERFA contract tender, the Chiefs could lock up any of them at a very low cost.

There are many wrinkles in this often-misunderstood process, so I’ve prepared an article that explains all of them. We’ll keep it available for easy access under the Resources tab on any Arrowhead Pride page.

For each of these four players, the team’s decision comes down to betting on what will happen in free agency. Will a given player attract enough interest from other teams that it makes sense to offer them a one-year minimum-salary deal to keep them from reaching the open market?

But remember: unlike the RFA tenders we discussed in the previous article, these tenders would have very little immediate effect on the salary cap. Any ERFA tender will be no more than $850,000. Under Top 51 salary-cap rules, it will replace a contract with a cap hit of $660,000 — meaning that it will have a cap impact of no more than $190,000.

Chiefs’ exclusive rights free agents

  • Cornerback Alex Brown: The former South Carolina State corner spent most of 2019 on the practice squad before being activated late in the year, playing on special teams through the postseason. He spent all of 2020 on injured reserve. The Chiefs would probably like to see more of what Brown can bring to the table, but there’s no particular reason to lock him up before free agency.
  • Tight end Nick Keizer: Like RFA Deon Yelder, Keizer isn’t exactly the player the Chiefs would like to have behind Travis Kelce. But he does have team experience and would be a less-expensive option to bring back as they comb the draft and free agency for a true backup tight end. But it just doesn’t seem likely the team will want to do that before free agency.
  • Defensive back Chris Lammons: With the Chiefs through 2020’s offseason, Lammons started the season on the practice squad. He saw special-teams action after being elevated for three different games and was moved to the active roster for the Super Bowl. He’s probably in Kansas City’s plans for 2021, but the team likely doesn’t feel they need to get him locked up before free agency begins.
  • Wide receiver Byron Pringle: The former Kansas State wideout is the only slam-dunk among the team’s ERFAs. He’s produced enough on the field he could easily be snapped up by another team in free agency, so the Chiefs are very likely to protect him with an ERFA tender.