Best & Worst Contracts: The Kansas City Chiefs


A few weeks ago Jason LaCanfora published a list of best and worst contracts in the NFL so I thought it might make a good idea for us to do the same here at OTC, with a team by team approach. I’ll try to be a bit more analytical in terms of why money was paid and how it fits in the market, but the general premise is the same. The one key difference is outside of restructured rookie contracts under the old CBA we will only use veteran contracts as there is a big difference between best draft picks and best contracts.  Please note that there is a difference between a bad player and a bad contract when discussing some of the selections. Clicking on a players name will take you to his salary cap page.

Jamaal CharlesBest Contract: Jamaal Charles

Charles is one of the best RB’s in the NFL and ran for over 1,500 yards on a team with no offense whatsoever. While overshadowed by the tremendous comeback of Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, Charles recovered from an ACL injury and returned without missing a beat, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and performing nearly as well as he did in 2010.

Because he plays in Kansas City, which has not been in major contention in some time, people fail to realize how good Charles is. In his last three full seasons he has averaged 1,365 yards rushing with a low of 1,120. He is the model of consistency for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs wisely locked Charles up in 2010, when Charles had one year remaining on his contract and had only produced one top flight season. Charles received $8 million up front, the only amount actually guaranteed by the team. The structure of his deal will never impact the Chiefs, with no cap charges exceeding $5 million until 2015, unless he hits various escalators in his contract. Even if he hits his 2014 escalator the cap charges will rise to around $6 million. He could be cut or traded next season with only $2.67 million in cap charges, which is not an impactful figure by any stretch.

At $5.4 million a year in annual salary Charles is a steal. He was the last player to come in at the position under the $6 million mark as there is a clear dividing line between Charles and the next group of players, most of whom earn over $7 million a year. Ray Rice ($7 million) and Matt Forte ($7.6 million) bot received significantly larger guarantees and have salary cap compromising contracts. Charles is far better than Forte and you could make an argument just as good as Rice. Perhaps no contract illustrates the bargain that the Chiefs have in Charles than the $7.3 million a year given to Jonathan Stewart in Carolina, who has produced in the last three years about as many yards and Charles will produce in one.

tyson jacksonWorst Contract: Tyson Jackson

I debated between Jackson and Branden Albert when deciding on this one. Albert was an example of an organization thinking it was too smart by franchising tagging a player they never wanted and then wondering why no team in the NFL would meet their asking price. Normally you have to at least pretend that there is a spot for the player on your team when you play hardball and they never did, with leaks all around saying he did not fit in to their future at all. Now when their bluff was called they are stuck with a $9.828 million dollar pricetag for somebody they would prefer was on another team and they have nobody to blame but themselves for that. But at least Albert can play, Jackson can’t.

Drafted with the third overall pick in the 2009 draft Jackson has been the epitome of the word bust. In four seasons Jackson has sacked the QB five times. He only has 113 tackles. He already has his rookie contract reworked once for some cap relief and they deleted the 2014 season in his 2012 renegotiation to take the proration off the books and prepare for his release in 2013. Except when 2013 rolled around not only did they decide not to release him, but to guarantee him a good chunk of salary to ensure he remained on the team rather than exploring free agency, where a team would have given him a look, but a $4 million dollar look?  Doubtful.

The Chiefs could have released Jackson and taken a dead money cap charge of just $2.5 million in 2013. While he had $3.22 million in guaranteed salary, the salary was not guaranteed for skill and thus the Chiefs could release him with no issues. For whatever reason they decided Jackson was once again worth keeping. Rather than holding him to the $3.22 million in partial guarantees the Chiefs upped his guarantee to $4 million in full guarantees. They also raised his offseason workout bonus from $250,000 to $500,000, essentially guaranteeing him $4.5 million of a $4.7 million dollar contract. If Jackson plays in 50% of the teams snaps he will earn an additional $500,000. Now Jackson’s cap charge stands at $7.2 million, 5th highest among 34 Defensive Ends, a number that never should have been on the Chiefs books.

Check out Our Other Best & Worst Contract Articles

AFC East: Buffalo BillsMiami DolphinsNew England PatriotsNew York Jets

AFC North: Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers

AFC South: Houston TexansIndianapolis ColtsJacksonville JaguarsTennessee Titans

AFC West: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders (July 10)


Roster Cut Recaps: Kansas City Chiefs

Usually when you picking at number 1 in the draft it means many veteran players will be let go prior to the start of free agency and the Chiefs began to get to work today to fix the mistakes of the past.

TE Kevin Boss was released from his three year contract after completing just one season for Kansas City. Boss was injured most of the season and did not factor into future plans.  Boss will carry a dead money charge slightly over $1.16 million but saved the team $1.948 million in cap room.

WR Steve Breaston lasted all of two years with the club before getting released. Breaston, who was never a factor in the passing game, received a $5 million dollar sighing bonus in 2011 and will carry a $3 million dollar dead cap charge in 2013 for the Chiefs. The Chiefs saved $2 million in cap room by releasing him

Kansas City should be around $15 million in cap room based on a $121.1 million dollar cap. Next on their cutting list should be first round bust Tyson Jackson. Releasing Jackson would save the team $14.97 million in both cash and cap.


An Offseason Look at The Kansas City Chiefs

I’m going to (hopefully) go over all 32 teams rosters and potential cap moves over the next few weeks. We’ll start things off with the Kansas City Chiefs, who own the number 1 pick in the draft. The Chiefs had a miserable season in 2012. Pro Football Focus ranked them to have the 20th ranked offense and 27th ranked offense, Football Outsiders ranked them 31st on offense and 30th on Defense, and in my own efficiency rankings they were 32nd in scoring and 25th in defense. So they need significant overhaul.

Cap Positions

Surprisingly the Chiefs have a high cap payroll on the books in 2013. My estimates have their top 51 at just under $120 million plus nearly $3 million in dead money. The team does have significant money to carry over from 2012 that will give them more than enough cushion once free agency begins, but as of today their cap number is going to be closer to $12 or $13 million once things get underway, so clearly they have some housecleaning to do.

The biggest dead weight on the roster is Tyson Jackson, who carries a base salary of $14.72 million despite a grand total of 3 sacks in 2012 and only 5 in his career. Releasing Jackson, who took a $3.75 million dollar paycut last season, would create $14.97 million in cap room, which moves them from average to near top of the market in spending dollars. Jackson should be as good as gone.

The other possible release would be QB Matt Cassel who turned a fluky 2008 cameo for the Patriots into a $48 million dollar contract from the Chiefs. Cassel is extremely mistake prone and both sides would probably benefit from a change of scenery. Releasing Cassel saves the team $7.75 million in cash and $5.875 million in cap space.

Notable Free Agents

The Chiefs have two free agents that will draw interest around the NFL. LT Branden Albert is one of the better tackles in the NFL and wants to be paid top 5 money. Is that reasonable? Probably. I think you can compare Albert to someone like Jordan Gross of the Panthers or Duane Brown of the Texans, both of whom are in the upper echelon of salary. I dont think Albert will reach the $10 million a year club that the Jets D’Brickashaw Ferguson snuck into a few years ago, but he should settle in that $9.5-$9.75 million a year range which will probably earn him $25 million in guarantees. It is a move the Chiefs should stronly consider making.

The teams other free agent is WR Dwayne Bowe who played last season on the franchise tag. Franchising Bowe again would cost the team $11.418 million in 2013 and that is not really an option for a team with no Quarterback. Bowe is looking for premier money on a long term deal and the Chiefs will probably be best suited to let him accept an offer from another club while they rebuild the more important positions on the team.

Rookie Pool:

The Chiefs have 7 picks thus far in the upcoming draft. Below you will find my estimates for the cost of the draft picks. The signing bonus money is typically going to be cash needed this season to sign their players this year.

PickSigning Bonus2013 Cap2014Cap2015Cap2016CapTotal
Round 11$14,518,444$4,034,611$5,043,264$6,051,917$7,060,570$22,190,362
Round 22$2,324,836$986,209$1,232,761$1,479,313$1,725,865$5,424,148
Round 31$703,304$580,826$717,826$854,826$990,826$3,144,304
Round 42$486,000$526,500$616,500$706,500$796,500$2,646,000
Round 51$215,512$458,878$548,878$638,878$728,878$2,375,512
Round 62$125,116$436,279$526,279$616,279$706,279$2,285,116
Round 71$69,124$422,281$512,281$602,281$692,281$2,229,124

For the Chiefs to get the fast turnaround they really need to hit in this years draft to begin that roster overhaul. The class will take up a nice little chunk of cap room, but if they can find one or two stars from the group it will give the team significant financial flexibility to make other moves.


With 10 players set to be unrestricted or restricted free agents in 2014 this could be a year where the Chiefs sit on some cap room while they get a better handle on their needs and then try to have a more impactful free agent season in 2015. I would think its in their best interests to re-sign Albert this year and look for a stopgap QB to hold the fort while they develop their roster, see what they get out of this years rookies, and then plan to make a splash two years from now.