Chiefs Release Jaye Howard

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Chiefs have released defensive tackle Jaye Howard.

Howard was set to count for $6.375 million on the Chiefs salary cap, but his new cap number will be $5 million, which is the total of the money remaining from his signing bonus and a $2.5 million salary guarantee. Howard’s contract contains offsets so if he signs with another team the Chiefs should recover some of his salary. That money would be credited to the Chiefs 2018 salary cap.

Howard had signed a two year, $10 million contract with the Chiefs last season after failing to find a longer term deal in free agency. I considered this at the time one of the better contracts in free agency. Howard had come off an excellent 5.5 sack season and should have been in line for a big payday, but there is little correlation these days with statistical performance and salaries at this particular position. Most players in Howard’s spot likely would have signed a one year contract, similar to his former teammate Dontari Poe, but Howard ended up signed for two which should have been a steal for Kansas City.

Instead it turned into a bit of a nightmare. Howard only played in 8 games last season and finished the year with just 1 sack when he was placed on IR. The injury likely locked in his $2.5 million guarantee, which vested to a full guarantee on the third day of the league year.  These cases are rare but do happen from time to time where a lingering injury prevents a player with an injury guarantee from being released before the guarantee vests. If that was not the case here then the Chiefs made a pretty bad mistake.

If Howard does not sign with another team, Kansas City will have ended up paying him $8.76 million for 8 games. Even if he does sign elsewhere the offset will likely not exceed $775,000, the minimum salary for a player of Howard’s experience. So this one ended up a pretty big mess for the Chiefs, who have one of the tighter salary cap situations in the NFL with just about $1.5 million in cap space before this release.