It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: who would you keep, cut. or deal on the Kansas City Chiefs roster? Although the roster is normally comprised of 51-to-53 players we’ll specifically focus on the top 24 players so we can get more bang for our buck. Meaning, these are the players who could also generate the most cap space if you should so choose not to keep them. First, I’ll give you my take on who the Chiefs should keep, cut, or deal… then it’s your turn.
I’ll give you a heads up that I may be giving some of the offensive players a pass. Why, because in a year in which the team is starting their first “Quarterback-of-the-Future” it is my belief that the rest of the offense should be left in tact to give that QBOTF some stability and familiarity. The only changes to the offense should come from outside the offense… additions like Free Agent signings or draft picks. However, I don’t anticipate many of those.
Note: You may notice that the Base Salary column and the Cap Hit column are not equal. That’s because I have truncated this graph which would normally include columns for Bonuses (signing, roster, and workout columns). Also, if you subtract the amount in the Dead Cap column, for any given player, from the amount in the Cap Hit column, it will show the amount that the Chiefs will be able to save if that player is cut. That’s the amount we’ll be using here today.
First, let’s begin by looking at the the Chiefs Top 12 money makers currently contracted for the 2018 season. The following information was provided by Sportrac.
1. OLB Justin Houston– Houston was not worth his contract in 2017 and although I’m hoping that changes in 2018, I’m not counting on it. The loss of Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard, poor CB play and the increasing speed with which QBs across the league are releasing the ball could all be contributing factors as to why Houston is not the player he was when he signed this deal but in any case, it looks like the team is stuck with his large contract right now and no one would want to trade for him and his contract. KEEP
2. LT Eric Fisher– Fisher is the 7th highest paid Left Tackle in the league right now but I don’t think he’s the 7th best Left Tackle. However, he’ll be needed in 2018 so he gets a pass. KEEP
3. Safety Eric Berry– it’s hard to quantify what Eric Berry means to the team… even when he’s not on the field. The bottom line is that the Chiefs should never try to trade him. He should be a Chief for life and if he’s able to produce 4 more high quality seasons he could even be considered for the NFL HoF. Still, his contract is out of whack. KEEP
4. ILB Derrick Johnson– Derrick is right up there with the greatest Chiefs of all-time as far as I’m concerned. IOW, he’s one of my favorites. However, the return on the dollar for his play on the field is no longer viable. It’s hard to believe that he’s the 4th highest paid Chief right now. If he’d consider a greatly reduced salary then keep him. Otherwise, it’s time for him to go. Since I doubt any team would trade for him… CUT <$8M saved>
5. TE Travis Kelce– the man is worth every penny he’s paid… and then some. KEEP
6. OLB Tamba Hali– it’s hardest of all to believe that Tamba Hali is the 6th highest paid Chiefs player. It’s also hard to believe we’re even having this conversation because he should have been cut two years ago. CUT <$7.6M saved>
7. OLB Dee Ford– if Dee Ford doesn’t pass his physical then the Chiefs are on the line for his $8.7M contract no matter what he does next year. Since they’re most likely playing him anyway they might as well give him the 53rd roster spot. There’s nothing worse than paying players to play for other teams… especially teams we might have to face in 2018. KEEP
8. DL Allen Bailey– Bailey presents a problem. He did not come back as strong as he had played two years previously. Some will say he needs more recovery time from the torn pectoral muscle his suffered early in the 2016 season. Others will say that Bennie Logan didn’t provide the support that Dontari Poe and Jaye Howard had in previous years. The problem here is that if you let Bailey go, then you have to replace a player who could still be a solid rotational player along the defensive line. I can see the Chiefs going after one big interior DL Free Agent but two is asking a bit much. KEEP
9. RT Mitchell Schwartz– KEEP
10. FS Ron Parker– Parker did not have a good year by any stretch of the imagination. It’s surprising that he’s in the top ten money makers on the Chiefs for 2018. It’s undeniable that Parker is a different player when Eric Berry is on the field. He can settle into his normal role of providing more coverage. I don’t think Parker has any trade value and unless Brett Veach can pull a John Dorsey and find a FS to sign to a one-year deal in Free Agency (like Quintin Demps, Husain Abdullah, or Tyvon Branch) for around $6M then saving Parkers’ $4.9M won’t accomplish anything. KEEP
11. RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif– KEEP
12. Safety Daniel Sorenson– Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, what the heck are you doing in the top 12 earners on this team? A lifetime backup should be making backup money. A gift to you before Dorsey left town I suppose. Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson make less than you do! This is one of the problems our ex-Gm left behind. I know that HC Andy Reid likes him some fellow Mormons but this is out of hand. Brett Veach… if your’e serious about changing the culture of this team, then this is exactly the kind of player you have to cut even though the savings is not huge. CUT <$1.8M saved>
How is it that both Ron Parker and Daniel Sorensen are in the top 12 millionaires on this team? Makes no sense at all. Now, let’s take a look at earners 13 through 24 to see if there are other players who we should KEEP, CUT, or DEAL
13. QB Patrick Mahomes II– the future man, the future! KEEP!
14. CB Marcus Peters– pay the man this offseason if possible. Just pay the man! KEEP
15. TE Demetrius Harris– praying for Jace Amaro to replace him. Veach signed Amaro to a reserve futures deal on Jan 9th. Time for Harris to hit the road. CUT <$2.1M savings>
16. WR Chris Conley– Conley returns from an Achilles injury on October 8th. He should be exactly the kind of tall, talented and angular wideout that Patrick Mahomes can take advantage of in the red zone… or… come to think of it… anywhere on the field. Conley should also help the running game. His blocking is best among Chiefs wide receivers. KEEP
17. CB Steven Nelson– the Chiefs defensive backfield had a horrible time in coverage when Nelson was out for the first half of the season. That’s right, even more horrible than they were the rest of the year. Nelson in the slot, with Fuller and Peters at CB will make an elite defensive backfield… and provide more coverage time so the front seven can apply pressure on the QB. Nelson, I’m sure, is part of those plans. KEEP
18, RB Charcandrick West- what a lot of fans may not know is that West is as much a cheerleader for the offense as Berry is for the defense. However, if the Chiefs draft a RB and Spencer Ware come back as strong as may are hoping he will, West could be out of a job. The Chiefs need a running back with a different style… a bigger back who can pound it in from the two yard line. CUT <$1.6 savings>
19. RB Spencer Ware– KEEP
20. OG Cameron Erving– if Erving earns the Left Guard position over this offseason, he’ll be worth a whole lot more than his rookie deal dictates. KEEP
21. DL Chris Jones– if the Chiefs could find a clone of Chris Jones this offseason, most of their pressure issues would be solved. KEEP
22. C Mitch Morse– if the Chiefs drafted a Center with their first pick in the draft it wouldn’t be a bad idea. The best Center in this draft is Frank Ragnow who happens to be rated #54 (the Chiefs first pick is #54). Why bring this up? Because Morse has to show he can stay healthy. When he is, he’s very good. KEEP
23. OG Bryan Witzmann– Witzmann surprised us all by claiming the LG position early in the season. KEEP
24. Frank Zombo– Zombo is a serviceable fill-in but offers nothing in terms of winning on a given play. I’m surprised he’s on the millionaire list. I’m hoping that if the Chief make enough offseason moves they won’t need a “serviceable fill-in” so I’m cutting the Z man. CUT <$1.1M savings>
Every other player under contract with the Chiefs next year are making less than $1 million per year. You may notice I predicted no trades or deals. Deals are harder to project but it mostly has to do with the player having a contract worth trading. Not saying a trade won’t happen, after all, Veach has pulled off a few good ones already.
If my calculations are correct, the Chiefs could come up with $22.2M in extra cap space above and beyond what they have now which is just over $8M according to Sportrac. Then the question becomes, what could Brett Veach do with the $30 million? I think there would be enough to fill the holes that need filling and that’s all the really matters… except for the matter of signing player like Marcus Peters to future deals.
Now, the cuts I made were intended to be kept to a minimum so it’s entirely conceivable that Veach will have more than this to work with. So, what cuts would you make? Do you agree with my cuts?
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