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The Super Bowl champs hit the offseason with a good portion of their core intact for the 2023 season. With multiple receivers and running backs set to hit the open market, KC will continue to piece together their weapon set this offseason, but the big questions come in the trenches. LT Orlando Brown needs at least a tag to stay in the fold, while Frank Clark’s cap hit balloons, and Chris Jones’ contract nears expiration.

2023 Kansas City Chiefs Salary Cap
2023 Kansas City Chiefs Free Agents

Extension Candidates

Notable Free Agents

The Quarterback Room

Patrick Mahomes enters Year 4 of a 12 year, $480M contract, set to earn $40.45M against a $46.8M cap hit next season. The Chiefs passed on restructuring Mahomes’ $35.8M hit this season, so it stands to reason they’ll convert his $34.4M roster bonus in the coming weeks to free up $27.52M of space for 2023. His 2023 & 2024 compensation is already fully guaranteed, and another $39.45M from 2025 locks in this coming March. It remains the largest, strongest contract in football.

QB2 Chad Henne played 2022 on a 1 year, $2M deal, and has announced his retirement following the Super Bowl win. There will there be a change in backup QB for the first time in 5 seasons.

The Running Back Room

2020 1st rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire holds a fully guaranteed $2M salary in 2023, then a $5.4M 5th-year option for 2024 that seems likely to be declined in the coming weeks. Will he remain a Chief next season? Finding a trade partner can free up $2M of cap/cash for KC.

2022 7th rounder Isiah Pacheco shot up the depth chart, so much so that CEH found himself a healthy scratch in Super Bowl 57. He’s on non-guaranteed rookie salaries through 2025.

30 year old Jerick McKinnon hit 800 yards from scrimmage on a veteran minimum deal, and is slated for free agency this March.

The Wide Receiver Room

JuJu Smith-Schuster turned a 1 year $3.76M base contract into $9.2M thanks to earned incentives. It stands to reason he’ll be seeking a multi-year guarantee this time around. With the WR market soaring, JuJu has a claim for $14M+ per year in the right situation, but a return to a contender such as Kansas City probably warrants something in the 3 year, $36M range.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling enters Year 2 of a 3 year $30M contract, set to earn $9M against an $11M cap hit. The Chiefs can move on from this deal and clear $7M of cap, but a restructure to lower the 2023 hit is much more likely here.

Kadarius Toney, acquired from the Giants for a 3rd/6th round pick, still has 2 years, $4.4M (guaranteed) plus a 5th year option in 2025. He’s been slow to get involved as of yet, but time (and low cap hits) are on everyone’s side here. Youngster Skyy Moore enters Year 2 of his rookie contract and will factor in.

Mecole Hardman is slated for unrestricted free agency, carrying a $10M valuation in our system.

The Tight End Room

Travis Kelce enters Year 4 of his 6 year $74M contract, set to earn $12.25M against a $14.8M cap hit next season. His early guarantees are now gone, putting him in a year-to-year situation contractually speaking. With three years remaining, it seems unlikely either side will push to move on this contract too much, though that likely changes this time next year.

2021 5th rounder Noah Gray enters Year 3 of his rookie deal, tripling his production from Year 1 to Year 2. He seems a likely candidate to stick behind Kelce next year.

The Offensive Line

Left Tackle Orlando Brown Jr. played out 2022 on a $16.6M franchise tag, and might be asked to do the same in 2023. It’ll cost the Chiefs $19.9M this time around, but that pales in comparison to the $60M+ guarantees being handed out to top offensive lineman on long-term deals. Brown took a bit of a step back this year, so the apprehension could be deemed warranted.

Left Guard Joe Thuney enters Year 3 of a 5 year, $80M contract, set to earn $15.5M against a $22.1M cap hit next season. His 2023 salary is already fully guaranteed, but he’ll be year-to-year thereafter. A base salary conversion plus two void years can open up $11M of cap space for KC.

2021 2nd round center Creed Humphrey had an outstanding 2022, setting his 2 years, $2.5M remaining up for huge value. He’ll become extension-eligible for the first time after 2023.

2021 6th rounder Trey Smith saw 85% of the offensive snaps this year, so his 2 years, $1.9M non-guaranteed will represent great value should he stick in a major role.

Right Tackle Andrew Wylie saw over 90% of the snaps this year on a 1 year, $2.5M contract. He’ll hit the open market this March, and there’s a world where he doubles his annual average.

The Defensive Line

DT Chris Jones enters a contract year in 2023, set to earn $20M against a $28.3M cap hit. There’s mutual interest in a restructured extension, but can the Chiefs afford another blockbuster contract on their books? Jones mathematically values to $30M a year - which means he’s worth even more when it’s all said and done. A 4 year, $120M extension, $90M guaranteed is completely within reason here.

Jones’ counterpart Khalen Saunders is slated for free agency this March, carrying a much more tenable $6.5M valuation into the offseason.

The Chiefs and DE Frank Clark agreed to a restructured deal last March that dramatically lowered his 2022 cap hit, but ballooned the 2023 figure north of $30M. Did the 30-year old do enough this year (5 sacks, 39 tackles, 1 forced fumble) to warrant another restructured deal to stay? KC can open up $21.1M of cap space by moving on here.

2022 1st rounder George Karlaftis posted 6 sacks in his first campaign, taking on 60% of the Chiefs snaps this season. He may be asked to take big steps forward next year if Frank Clark leaves town.

The Linebackers

Willie Gay Jr. enters a contract year, carrying a $1.6M cap hit in 2023. He nearly doubled his career production this season, posting 88 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a pick.

2021 2nd rounder Nick Bolton compiled 180 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a forced fumble. The 22-year-old carries a basic $1.6M cap hit next year, becoming extension-eligible for the first time thereafter.

After limited snaps this season, 2022 3rd rounder Leo Chenal likely takes over the SAM role in 2023. He holds a non-guaranteed 3 years, $3.4M. Carlos Dunlap is a pending free agent.

The Secondary

2022 1st rounder Trent McDuffie missed 6 weeks, but really rounded into form down the stretch, appearing every bit the starting CB KC has been seeking. He’ll carry a team-friendly $3.8M cap figure next season.

L'Jarius Sneed put together his best season to date, posting 108 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 picks, and 3 forced fumbles on 91% of the team’s snaps. He’ll get a pay bump up to $2.7M in the final year of his rookie deal, and enters the offseason as an extension candidate, carrying an $8M valuation right now.

Justin Reid was signed to a 3 year, $31.5M contract to replace Tyrann Matheiu this offseason, and he held his own in Year 1 of that adventure. The 26-year old is set to earn $9.2M against a $12.7M cap hit next year, but a simple base salary conversion plus void years can free up $6.3M of that cap as needed.

Juan Thornhill hit career highs across the board, including 71 tackles, 3 picks, and a sack in 2022. He’s slated for unrestricted free agency this March, projecting to a 4 year, $40M contract in our system. 2022 2nd rounder Bryan Cook could be asked to step up into the spotlight going forward.

The Special Teams

Kicker Harrison Butker enters Year 5 of a 6 year $21M contract, set to earn $3.7M against a $5.1M cap hit next season. Butker posted one of his least efficient seasons to date, hitting 75% of his field goals, 92% of his PATs. If the Chiefs find another option to compete, there’s almost $3M of cap space to be opened up by moving on here.

Punter Tommy Townsend was an All-Pro this year, headed to restricted free agency this March. The UDFA should be back on the low tender next season, while Long Snapper James Winchester enters a contract year, carrying a $1.3M cap hit in 2023.