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Why The Chiefs' 2024 Cap Space Can Lead To Three-Peat

The Chiefs are feeling good with their fourth Lombardi trophy in hand (third in the last five seasons). The Chiefs are also the first team to repeat as champions since the '03-04 Patriots. Patrick Mahomes and company are continuing their dynasty and are now set on 2024.


So, what is the first step towards that fifth ring? It has to be conquering the salary cap and free agency. Heading into the offseason, this is the first time in years that the Chiefs will be under the salary cap. According to Spotrac, the Chiefs are currently sitting around $23.7 million under the salary cap. However, once the Chiefs sit around the 51-player mark on their roster, it is estimated to be around $15.5 million, according to Arrowhead Pride.


So, how can the Chiefs make that cap space lead to a three-peat? Let's discuss.


Step One: Cut Ties, Restructure Mahomes

With all that in mind, where should the Chiefs look first? Considering that guys like Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed are set to hit the market, that is the priority. However, the Chiefs have to move parts around before pursuing their stars. The first step requires cutting ties or adjusting contracts with Marquez Valdez-Scantling.


MVS is scheduled to earn just under $14 million in 2024. If the Chiefs release him, they can save $11.9 million in 2024 with only a $2 million dead money charge. This needs to be an essential first step despite MVS redeeming himself a bit in the playoffs.


After MVS is gone, restructuring Mahomes' contract has been in the works for a while now. He has shown he is OK with taking the Tom Brady route and taking pay cuts to maintain the roster year by year. Freeing up money to maintain Jones and Sneed is a move Mahomes is 100% ready to roll on.


Step Two: Sign Chris Jones To An "Adjusted Contract"

Jones will once again be an expensive contract at around $28.4 million per year. This puts KC in a tough spot, but there is a way to make it work.


As far as Jones goes, he showed a positive attitude towards staying in KC, even with it being a drunken statement at the parade.


If he genuinely wants to take a "pay cut," a deal around $85.5 million over three years would be ideal. This puts him around the estimated $28.4 per year value, according to Spotrac.


Last offseason, Jones said he wanted around $30 million per year to be in the Aaron Donald ballpark. The $85.5 million deal I mentioned might not be the exact amount he wants, but it's close enough if he is serious about staying in KC. That deal is also cheaper than using the franchise tag on Jones for a second time, which would be around $32 million instead of the usual $19.7 million.


If Jones is serious about KC, this deal needs to happen; otherwise, the Chiefs risk losing out on Jones AND Sneed simply because the money isn't right.


Step 3: Franchise Tag Sneed

Is this the ideal pay situation for Sneed? No, not really. He will want his bag after the season he just had. Unfortunately, Sneed is estimated to cost around $65 million over four years for his next deal. The reality is that Sneed is likely gone even if he is brought back for one more year. However, that should not deter the Chiefs from pursuing this.


Spotrac has Sneed sitting around $16.3 million per year. However, the Chiefs cannot pay both Sneed and Jones big payouts. Tagging Sneed seems to be the best route simply because it allows the Chiefs the most freedom and potentially keeps him in KC for one more run. If the Chiefs tag Sneed, it would be an $18 million cap hit. That is more than his projected value next season. If he can accept that for 2024, he can ride off into the sunset on a new deal in 2025 elsewhere.


Final Thoughts

Something important to remember here is that the Chiefs have 36 pending free agents. Jones and Sneed are just the most prominent names on that list. Guys like Drue Tranquill, Willie Gay Jr., Tommy Townsend, and Donovan Smith are also hitting the market.


The Chiefs' path to a third consecutive Super Bowl begins with the never-ending battle against the salary cap. If the Chiefs pull off the best move of their offseason by retaining Jones AND Sneed, this will set them up for next season's title defense. Retaining them both shows Brett Veach's commitment to his stars; thus, other free agents will follow suit if the money makes sense.


 

Read More NFL News From Stadium Rant Here: NFL News


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