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The NFL has officially set its salary cap at $182.5 million for the 2021 NFL season.
Each year the NFL’s salary cap is determined based upon the profit and net loss of the year prior. Teams planned years in advance for an increase from last year’s $198.2 million salary cap. Things are a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact and it’s left some teams in a tough financial situation.
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the teams that will be tasked with cutting costs in order to get salary cap compliant. As of right now, both Spotrac and OverTheCap are projecting that the Chiefs are in the neighborhood of $21 million over this year’s $182.5 million number. That figure might sound like a lot, but other teams like the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, and Philadelphia Eagles are much worse off.
The truth is, Brett Veach has already told us how he plans to get under the salary cap. During his media availability just a week ago, Veach explained that the team plans to free up money by restructuring contracts.
As I previously illustrated, Kansas City can get under the salary cap with a few pen strokes, converting roster bonus money to signing bonus on a number of players currently under contract. Other teams may be forced to release players in order to get under the cap, but the Chiefs are uniquely situated where they don’t have to do much of that. They can create upward of $30 million in cap space, just using this method alone.
There are still a few key players to keep an eye on in terms of cuts (Eric Fisher) and extensions (Tyrann Mathieu), but for the most part, the team will be able to get compliant with the $182.5 million number without making those moves. If the team wants to free up enough space to become a major player in free agency this year, things could get a little dicey.
Remember, the team will also need somewhere between $6-8 million to sign their 2021 NFL draft picks. They have some restricted free agents they’d like to retain too. Before you know it, all the money you freed to become complaint is spoken for.
Without question, Veach and his staff have some work to do and they have just a week to execute it.