The Kansas City Chiefs, as of this writing, are projected to have salary commitments on the books over $210 million when the new league year begins March 18. The only problem with that? The league's cap is projected to be somewhere in between $197 million and $201 million. That means the Super Bowl champs need to make some adjustments in order to fall into compliance.
What shrewd moves can the front office make over the next month?
Here are three players the Chiefs should consider releasing or trading for salary cap purposes.
3. OL Cam Erving
Erving carries a club option of almost $4.7 million for the 2020 season. Declining it and outright saving $3.3 million is one path; picking it up and exploring the trade market is another. There's definitely value for an O-lineman who has appeared in 27 games and started 21 over the last two seasons for one of the best offenses in the NFL at that price.
2. OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
How about exploring some interesting scenarios on the trade market? With Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz protecting Patrick Mahomes on either side of the offensive line, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a key figure in the interior. However, he carries a cap hit of just below $9 million for 2020. While that's a good price for the 29-year-old, the Chiefs might be better off trading him, getting some value, and snagging another lineman in the draft. It may not be a popular decision, but if the Chiefs are looking to cut costs in as many ways as possible, this could be a productive avenue for doing so.
1. WR Sammy Watkins
The man made one of the biggest catches in Super Bowl LIV to help propel the Chiefs to victory. With under five minutes remaining and KC trailing by three, Watkins burned Richard Sherman on a deep ball to position the offense in the red zone, which helped set up the game-winning touchdown. However, Watkins will cost $21 million in 2020, and if the Chiefs cut him, they'll save $14 million. The offense survived without heavily incorporating him the last two seasons, so it's safe to say that he could be the biggest cap-related casualty of the offseason for the Chiefs.