I’ve typically been a pretty ardent believer in the idea that the salary cap and its management on a per-team basis is something flexible enough that if you have a good front office, it will be able to manipulate its way into getting room to make decent moves every offseason.
But looking a little more closely at the Kansas City Chiefs has me thinking otherwise. Yes, they have a super star QB and a lot of stability that would be a welcoming place for free agents to flock.
But the problem is going to be what happens when Patrick Mahomes sets the new standard in NFL contracts? The market for his talent is realistic to be around $40 M / year. Sure, the teams can back load that to give them room to breathe in the short term, but at some point that piper is going to get paid.
And when you look at their cap situation now, they have only $15 million this year in space. Mahomes is only making a little over $5 million. So having that cheap QB contract is helping the Chiefs make a serious run.
And they got there very smartly. If you look at the top of their list of highest paid players this year, you see a list of sensible high-talent players they added to help fill holes in their roster: Frank Clark, Sammy Watkins, their accused-but-not-convicted child abusing / girlfriend beating wide receiver who won’t get a name drop from this writer, Tyrann Mathieu, and Travis Kelce lead the charge as the guys making bank from KC.
Their top 10 players are costing the Chiefs $120 million this year (over half of their total allowed).
So what happens if Mahomes gets inserted into that mix at $40 million per year?
1) KC absolutely has to do it...whatever it takes you keep a guy signed with that much talent.
2) The team, its front office, and its fans better pray to a higher power that he’s open to being a little team-friendly somehow...because a contract of that size alone is going to put a lot of pressure on them to be creative about how they keep their team loaded moving forward.
As a fan of the Broncos, it will be very interesting to see how stable KC stays whenever its is forced to pay Mahomes. It is hard to keep a Super Bowl team together. Once your players get attention at the national level, the cost to keep them oftentimes becomes too high to keep all the dogs in the house (AMARITE, T.J. Ward?).
Von Miller, Courtland Sutton hit the field at 2020 Pro Bowl
Take an inside look at Courtland Sutton’s and Von Miller’s day at the 2020 Pro Bowl, from warmups to the victory celebration.
Broncos name Mike Shula as quarterbacks coach
Shula will now be charged with leading the Broncos’ quarterbacks room, which includes Drew Lock as he enters his second NFL season.
Players who leveled up for all 32 NFL teams in the 2019 season
Michael Gallup took his game to another level. Justin Simmons boosted his free-agent stock. Aaron Jones dominated — and stayed healthy.
Super Bowl News
Kyle Shanahan explains decision to pass on Mahomes - NFL.com
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch had a chance to draft Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and decided against it. The 49ers coach explained why San Francisco didn't bite on the future MVP.
Robert Saleh's rise with 49ers fueled by humble, authentic style - NFL.com
Robert Saleh's sideline enthusiasm might attract the cameras, but he's actually quieter than you think he is, Steve Wyche writes. Get to know the architect of the San Francisco 49ers' elite defense.
Frank Clark criticizes Dee Ford for offsides penalty - NFL.com
Chiefs DE Frank Clark proclaims he's the best pass rusher in the NFL, and ahead of Super Bowl LIV, he had some choice words for his 49ers counterpart Dee Ford, whom he replaced in K.C.
QR Bonus: Keys to Beating San Francisco | Football Outsiders
Even in their worst games this season, the 49ers still got quality play from Jimmy Garoppolo, and they still shut down opposing passing games, especially tight ends. They were vulnerable, however, to quarterback runs -- and Patrick Mahomes has been running more than ever lately.
Richard Sherman Is Back on the Super Bowl Stage and Ready to Prove You Wrong Again - Sports Illustrated
The 49ers' cornerback had plenty to say at Super Bowl media night, which made one thing abundantly clear—the NFL isn’t getting rid of Sherman easily.
At Super Bowl media night, Tyreek Hill puts on the face that the Chiefs want - Sports Illustrated
At Super Bowl Media Night, the Chiefs' wide receiver charmed the crowds—seemingly forcing people to forget that he’s the same player who beat up his pregnant girlfriend in 2014 and was the subject of a child-abuse investigation last spring.
Patrick Mahomes Extension Coming “Next 12 to 15 Months,” Chiefs' Clark Hunt Says
Chiefs may wait until after CBA negotiations conclude before inking Mahomes to new contract
Behind the 49ers' Super Bowl return, two men who changed everything
After years of discord between 49ers head coaches and GMs, the success behind this year's team might be the true bond between Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch -- whether they're winning or losing.
Other NFL News
Texans coach Bill O'Brien gains general manager title - NFL.com
The Texans announced Tuesday that Bill O'Brien gained the GM title that was vacant since the team fired Brian Gaine. The Texans also announced Jack Easterby is now the EVP of football operations.
Aggressiveness Index 2019 | Football Outsiders
It will not surprise you to learn that John Harbaugh set an all-time record for fourth-down aggressiveness in 2019.