The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions for the second time in the Patrick Mahomes era, but if they want to repeat, they will have to fix their financial situation. As of this post, the team currently has $526,422 in available salary cap space, which isn’t nearly enough to re-sign key free agents and bring in outside talent. The Chiefs have a couple of obvious candidates cut out, but depending on how much money they’re looking to rake in, they could make some surprising moves.
For the sake of this exercise, keep in mind that all cap numbers are from Over the Cap.
TO KNOW MORE: Chiefs three-round mock draft
Top 5 Kansas City Chiefs cut candidates, ranked
Frank Clark is a good player, but not worth a $28.7 million cap hit. Right now, his salary cap number is second on the team only to Patrick Mahomes, and he definitely isn’t the second most valuable player on this list. The Chiefs can part ways with the edge rusher while saving a staggering $21 million in cap space, so cutting Clark is a very easy business decision. Honestly, freeing up that much rooftop space could solve all of Kansas City’s financial woes, so don’t be too surprised if this is the only major move the team makes before the 2023 season begins.
How is Frank Clark different at PLAYOFF? – From the man himself @TheRealFrankC_ a very thoughtful and insightful response from the shark Thanks for your time today, Frank! #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/xz8BmRIE1W
— Starcade Media (@StarcadeMediaKC) February 9, 2023
2. Joshua Kaindoh
Even without a financial incentive, 2023 could easily mark the end of the Joshua Kaindoh era. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, injuries and ineffectiveness limited him to just three games over his two-year career. While he’s obviously a small champion, Kaindoh hasn’t played too well during his rare appearances on the court. The team can save $815,000 by parting ways, which seems likely considering Kaindoh’s total lack of impact.
3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
One of the most disappointing selections in recent franchise history, Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t had success on a professional level. Famously picking ahead of Tee Higgins and ahead of Jonathan Taylor, the LSU product was unable to stay healthy and regularly lost starting jobs to replacement-level players. Edwards-Helaire was quite a scratch in the Super Bowl, implying that he fell behind not only seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco and aging veteran Jerrick McKinnon, but Ronald Jones as well. The team will likely trim Edwards-Helaire to save $865,000 in cap space, then use some of that money to invest in a cheaper, cost-controlled depth at the location.
James Winchester is a great long snapper, but he’s only a long snapper. By definition, he is the least important position in football, and the team can free up $1.16 million in cap space by taking only $155,000 in dead money. Even extending it wouldn’t save cap space, so the most logical move is for the team to look for a minimum-league long snapper on the open market.
5. Marquez Valdés-Scantling
Marquez Valdes-Scantling wasn’t terrible in his first year with the Chiefs, but he wasn’t particularly good either. While he will likely return for the 2023 season, there’s no denying Valdes-Scantling is no special talent and the Chiefs could do better. If they designate it as a post-June 1 cut, the team can save $9 million in cap. If the team needs to pinch pennies, they might probably be able to cut Valdes-Scantling, sign a similar player like Darius Slayton, and have some cash left over.
Main photo: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports