As players and owners continue to work on negotiations for the new CBA, one of the important aspects for teams will be the increase in the salary cap going forward. Potentially, the increase is supposed to bring the salary cap to around 200 million. To say this would benefit teams is an understatement, as there are currently six teams that already have over 200 million in cap space committed to their rosters for the 2020 season. While the Chiefs aren’t one of those teams the cap increase does play an important role for them going forward.
One of the ways the increase in cap space affects the Chiefs is probably the most obvious. It gives the team the flexibility to structure contracts in accordance with the increase. This year would mark the 7th consecutive season where the cap increase was at least $10 million and that trend is expected to continue moving forward (with the potential of it increasing to $240 million in 2021). An example of Brett Veach already anticipating this future increase is by giving the Franchise Tag to Chris Jones. While it’s been seen many times that the Franchise Tag is a precursor to a ‘sign and trade’, I don’t think this is the case here. If the cap were to increase as projected in 2021 it would allow the team to not only figure out a longterm contract for Jones, but to be able to do so without hindering their opportunities elsewhere. This isn’t the only positive effect the increase in cap would have for Kansas City, however.
An issue for many teams is the ability to retain players that, while not elite, are still essential to the success of the franchise. While a cap increase will surely benefit the stars of the league, it will also give teams the financial flexibility to keep those they may lose otherwise. For the Chiefs, it could mean players like Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward, or Damien Williams (next year) could be dealt league-average contracts while still being kept. Considering a lot of younger players fall into this category, it can provide the team with enough financial ammunition to see a players’ potential met (if they deem the player worthy). This is important because frequently we will see young players not being able to be kept by the team that drafted them, go elsewhere and become stars. Often times, these players could mean the difference between a good team and one that could make a Super Bowl run. And while some teams may lose these players regardless it could open the door for Kansas City as well, with the Chiefs success allowing them to acquire talent that would’ve been too expensive in previous years.
The last impact the potential salary cap increase creates is probably the most important one for the Chiefs. That’s the ability to extend star players now into structured deals that won’t impede the team in the future. Primarily, Patrick Mahomes. With two years left on his contract an extension is imminent. While this may have been a burden in previous years, the increase in cap would not only make this doable; but allow the team to continue to build at the same time.
If the 2021 estimate stated above is accurate it opens the possibility for the Chiefs to become the NFL’s next dynasty. While the cap will always be a concern, Kansas City will be in a unique position. With Mahomes under contract through the duration of his prime it would provide the team an easy methodology to sign, replace, and draft talent at other important positions. So while the incrase in salary cap would help the entire NFL, few would be in as stable a position as the Chiefs.