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Chiefs restructure Travis Kelce’s contract, clearing 2022 cap space

In recent weeks, Kansas City has had very little space under the salary cap — so the team has made a move to create some.

Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Kansas City Chiefs have restructured the contract of tight end Travis Kelce, creating $3.455 million in cap space in 2022.

According to the salary cap site Spotrac, Kelce was earning a base salary of $7.5 million in 2022, with a cap hit of $11.9 million. This includes his base salary, $3 million in bonuses and $1.4 million carried forward from a previous contract restructure.

Kelce would have had about $4.6 million in unpaid base salary for the remainder of the season. So the Chiefs have handed Kelce a check for that amount — but having done so, they can now spread that money against the cap in 2022 and the last three years of his contract. The move will add about $1.15 million to the tight end’s cap hits (and dead money figures) in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Precisely how much cap space the Chiefs had available to them before this move is unknown. This is because we never know exactly how much the team is actually spending. Sites like Spotrac or OverTheCap can only estimate how much space teams really have, relying on published details about player contracts. Details about the contracts can be misunderstood, improperly rounded or inaccurately reported.

This makes little difference when teams have millions of dollars in cap space available — but when a team’s salary cap space is running close to the edge (as Kansas City’s has been since the beginning of the season), this sometimes means that salary-cap sites will report the team with negative cap space.

Now, however, the Chiefs are easily above the cap. With this move, Spotrac now estimates the team has $3.1 million in cap space.

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