Friday, February 14, 2014
The savings (or cost) of roster cuts
By Adam Teicher
Some fans would like to see the Kansas City Chiefs release a high-priced player or two in order for the Chiefs to clear some room under the NFL's salary limit. While the Chiefs might restructure a contract or two, I'm not sure they will part with any of their pricey players purely for the cost savings.
But let's take a look at how much the Chiefs would save (or not save) by cutting some of the players who are costing them the most against the salary cap.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who signed a lucrative, long-term contract last year, responded with one of the worst statistical seasons of his career. Bowe has the Chiefs' highest salary cap number in 2014 at $12 million.
Releasing Bowe isn't an option for the Chiefs because in that case he would actually cost them more ($16.25 million) than if he plays for them. About half of Bowe's 2014 salary of $8.75 million is guaranteed, meaning the Chiefs have to pay that portion of it whether he plays for them or not. So cross that one off your wish list. Bowe will play for the Chiefs in 2014.
The next three highest cap numbers belong to defensive players: strong safety Eric Berry (approximately $11.6 million), linebacker Tamba Hali ($11.5 million) and cornerback Brandon Flowers ($10.5 million).
Nobody has suggested the Chiefs release Berry, who has plenty of long-term value to the Chiefs. But for the sake of argument, the Chiefs would save about $5.8 million against the cap if they did release him.
The Chiefs would realize a cap savings of about $5.5 million if they released Hali and about $3.5 million if they cut Flowers. But Hali is still a productive player and there's nowhere the Chiefs could reasonably go to find another player who can give them what Hali did last season. Flowers had a down season, but it would be a mistake for the Chiefs to give up on a player in the prime of his career. Flowers turns 28 on Tuesday.
Cornerback Sean Smith is another popular choice for release among Chiefs fans. His cap cost is $5.75 million. But his base salary of $3.45 million is fully guaranteed, so like Bowe, would cost Kansas City more if he didn't play for them than if he did.