Welcome to the first Mailbag Monday, the newest Arrowhead Live column.
Every Monday, we’ll go through reader’s questions, reactions, and hot takes to all things NFL football, and of course all things Chiefs.
The salary cap is complicated, but at its base, it’s salary plus bonuses equals cap hit. The signing bonus is guaranteed money, the player gets that just for signing the contract. There are other bonuses as well, such as roster and workout bonuses, that could also factor in.
The signing bonus is spread out over the entire contract. For example, if I signed a four-year deal with a $1 million signing bonus, my signing bonus would be $250,000 per year, only accounting for a cap hit of $250K.
If my team were to cut me after just one season, they would take on a dead cap hit of my remaining bonus money the following season, which would be $750K in this case.
Teams can convert salary into bonus money, spreading the money throughout the remainder of the deal, saving money in the current year. The Chiefs did this with Frank Clark in March, converting $5 million to a signing bonus, spreading that money out over the final four years of his deal.
How will the Chiefs manage to fix their salary cap going into next year when they have to pay Mahomes? – @ConnorNaess, uSTADIUM
Many, including myself, believe GM Brett Veach would work his magic by back-loading an extension salary and handing Mahomes a nice signing bonus that would spread throughout the duration of the deal.
What makes this tricky are the unknowns about the salary cap in 2021 and beyond, given the potential for a massive revenue drop amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. That would in turn lead to a drop in the salary cap, which some project could be an astonishing $70-80 million.
Given that the Chiefs currently have $180 million on the books for 2021, according to Over The Cap, Veach would have his work cut out for him trying to get his team under the cap while also signing Mahomes.
How much is too much for Patrick Mahomes? – Christian Ainsworth, Arrowhead Live staff
We have all been talking about how much Patrick Mahomes is going to get when he signs his new contract, but how high should the Chiefs go?
We have to assume an average of 40 million is the start, and probably for around five seasons. Some even say 45 is closer to what his average could end up being. But what about even more? Do the Chiefs go upwards or even hit the $50 million mark, something unheard of in American sports?
Mahomes would be worth every penny, but once we creep into the upper 40s, it’s hard to validate having one player take up a quarter of a team’s cap space, especially with other players waiting to be paid in the wings (Chris Jones) and other big contracts on the books (Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu).
Which division has more total wins, NFC South or West? – CJ Jones, Arrowhead Live staff
West. If any division can pull off sending all four teams to the playoffs under the new format, it’s the NFC West. The Seahawks and 49ers are annual contenders, the Rams were in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, and the Cardinals are a young, improving squad who just added one of the best receivers in the game.
That’s not to say the South is bad by any means. Tampa just had the best offseason in team history, and the Saints will win 10+ games. What separates the two divisions is the other two teams.
When it comes down to it, I have more faith in Arizona and Los Angeles than Atlanta and Carolina.
Who wins the returning job this year? – Dustin Anhalt, Facebook
Special Teams coordinator Dave Toub has made it clear that he would love to have Mecole Hardman back as a returner but acknowledged that he may not have as many if he sees a bigger offensive role.
If the Chiefs decide to go in a different direction, Byron Pringle would probably be the next man up. He received only two kicks in 2019 but averaged 27.6 yards per return in 2016 and 2017 at Kansas State.
What is the likelihood that the Chiefs repeat this year? – Ryan Revoir, Arrowhead Live staff
It is a higher likelihood than teams of the last few years, I would say. More so this offseason than others, continuity is critical with it appearing that offseason workout and training camps will be at the very least altered. Of course, the Chiefs bring back 20 of 22 starters from Super Bowl LIV and they retained all three coordinators.
Chiefs biggest need to help them repeat? -Justin Dueppengiesser, Arrowhead Live staff
Chiefs biggest weakness going into season? – Ryan Blank, Arrowhead Live staff
These two seem to go hand-in-hand.
Linebacker still seems to be the biggest concern, but Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo are hopeful that 2nd round pick Willie Gay Jr. will provide athleticism and help cover backs out of the backfield in the passing game.
The offensive line also struggled at times last season, and the Chiefs brought in 3rd round pick Lucas Niang and signed undrafted free agent Darryl Williams, as well as veteran Mike Remmers.
Those are the positions the Chiefs are hoping for the most improvement and are worth keeping an eye on in 2020.
If you’d like to drop your thoughts and/or questions, you can find us on Twitter, as well as myself on uSTADIUM (@dwilhelm225) and the Arrowhead Pride fan posts.