For those wondering why the Kansas City Chiefs weren't more aggressive in free agency this year, one reason is that philosophically, the Chiefs would prefer to build their roster through the draft. Another is that they won't have a ton of salary cap room in 2015 to handle big contracts given out now.
The Chiefs have about $125.5 million of salary cap commitments for their 39 players under contract for 2015. The salary limit this year is about $133 million per team and could increase to more than $140 million next year.
But remember a few things. First, their 2015 salary load includes just 39 players. They'll need to add a few more in order to field a team. Second, quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2015 and the Chiefs will need significant salary cap room in order to sign them. Last, this 2015 total doesn't include so-called dead money for players they release this year who won't be with them next year.
So this adds up to a salary cap situation that should be tight again in 2015.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe will have another hefty cap number in 2015 at $14 million. If the Chiefs released Bowe before next season, he would still cost them $10.5 million against their cap, so don't look for the Chiefs to cut Bowe next year merely to reap the cost savings.
The Chiefs could realize a cap savings of $9 million next year if they release linebacker Tamba Hali, whose cap number in 2015 is almost $12 million. They would save $7 million against their 2015 cap by releasing cornerback Brandon Flowers. He has a 2015 cap number of $11.5 million.
Other possible places to cut next year include at backup quarterback. If the Chiefs believe Tyler Bray is ready next year to be the top backup, they could save $3.8 million against their 2015 cap by releasing Chase Daniel. The 2015 release of wide receiver Donnie Avery would immediately shave $3.55 million from Kansas City's salary cap.