The Kansas City Chiefs were the first NFL team to part ways with one of their 2013 draft selections when they released RB Braden Wilson. Wilson was a 6th round selection that was signed with one of the compensatory picks awarded to the Chiefs. He had received a signing bonus of $78,680.
Though many of us believe that being drafted is a ticket to the NFL, for many, selected where Wilson was, it is not. Nearly 26% of 7th round draft picks will never be credited with a game played in the NFL and about 24% of the 6th round selections are in the same boat. Teams do not save any cap room releasing these players, they simply have determined that the fit is not what they expected. So while Wilson will have the distinction of being the first draftee cut the odds are strongly against him being the last.There should be plenty of 5th, 6th, and 7th rounders let go in the next week and maybe even a 3rd or a 4th that doesn’t make it either.The Chiefs also released QB Ricky Stanzi, a 5th round pick in 2011, was waived yesterday. In two years Stanzi never played a game for the Chiefs. He will carry cap charges of $52,673 in both 2013 and 2014.
In addition the Chiefs terminated the contract of veteran Terrance Copper, a solid special teams player. Copper was most likely the victim of the Chiefs tight cap situation, which saw the team with about $300,000 in cap room before the weekend’s releases. Copper, who had signed a 3 year contract in 2011, was set to count for $915,000 against the teams salary cap. His dead money charge is just $75,000, a figure comprised of his signing bonus proration and workout bonus earned.
That move will free up somewhere between $285,000 and $360,000 in net cap room depending on the salary of his roster replacement. In about a week salary cap charges move from just counting the top 51 players to the entire roster, including players on IR, PUP, and the Practice Squad. For teams tight against the cap, like KC, it makes veterans like Copper likely candidates for release as there is no real pay cut that they can take to give the team the cap flexibility they need. If I had to venture a guess I would think the Chiefs need to create a minimum of $3 million in cap room with the final cuts.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.