We have returned to the general manager position and stepped into the shoes of Brett Veach. Last time, we made simple decisions (sort of) on pending free agents. Already, not all of those have come true. Kansas City has reportedly elected to bring back Chad Henne as the backup quarterback over Matt Moore. Meanwhile, other players like Damien Wilson and Andrew Wylie were brought back.
In this part of the Playing Brett Veach series, we are going to set out and make some more difficult decisions. Certain guys that have been a tenured Chief for a while will be released. Others will be traded to a new team and city. Finally, as Brett Veach we will hope to set the team up well for know and in the future. Let’s get things rolling.
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For a while now, the looming decision on Sammy Watkins has been difficult. There are many different avenues in which to go down with the veteran receiver. The decision to cut him was there. However, the team would be stuck with $7 million in dead cap money. We would not be shocked if Watkins is actually released when it is all said and done. Here is why we would keep him in Kansas City though.
When healthy, the Chiefs have seen Watkins be a reliable target. His playoff performances have helped lift the team to heights they had not reached in ages. There is also a few other reasons to believe that the receiver and the team would like to stay together.
For example, Watkins would get to stay with one of the top quarterbacks in the league in Patrick Mahomes. Add in one of the top coaches with Andy Reid. Meanwhile, it feels like deep down Brett Veach wants Watkins back.
Because of that, we are going to give Watkins a two year extension in this exercise. Kansas City gets the benefit of decreasing the receiver’s salary cap hit for 2020. On the other hand, Watkins gets to stay in Kansas City until 2022 at the latest. An extension like this could free up roughly $9 million in 2020 salary cap space. Will this be the right move going forward? We’ll see what the team has in mind in the coming weeks.
It is time to give tight end Travis Kelce a deal he deserves. He will never publicly say that, given how much he loves being in Kansas City. An extension for two or three years would possibly keep Kelce in Chiefs colors for the rest of his career. Currently, he has cap hits of $11.2 million and $8.75 million over the next two season. With a newly agreed to CBA, the salary cap is increasing over the next handful of years.
When giving Kelce this extension, Brett Veach could essentially backload the contract. Therefore, you open up more cap space for now, rather than in the future. The tight end gets a deal he deserves. If Kansas City can make Kelce happy, while still freeing up any ounce of salary cap space, I think Brett Veach would gladly do it.
The Doc Is Out
Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has had a very proud stint with the Chiefs. At the same time, he is a very logical cap casualty. Injuries have started to pile up. Furthermore, Duvernay-Tardif’s play deteriorated even more this past season. In pass protection, there were some games where opponents were consistently besting him.
The Chiefs have a history of finding under the radar interior offensive linemen who can step in right away. As a result, this decision becomes a little easier. You have Wylie and Martinas Rankin who could easily step in. Or, there are capable options in the NFL Draft. It is a difficult move. However, the Chiefs would save $5 million in cap space. Brett Veach would likely do that in a heartbeat and not have to keep a declining guard on a high powered offense.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones has been a back and forth topic in the NFL media. With many avenues in which things could go down with him, we decided to lay out what an extension or possible trade could look like in this exercise.
Many think it is still possible that he plays in Kansas City on an extension. Brett Veach is going to work hard to do what is best for the team. If that includes extending Jones, here is what that could look like.
Looking at Frank Clark‘s contract of five years and $104 million, it is likely that it would take a five year pact to make Jones happy. It feels like there may be a certain amount the Chiefs and Brett Veach are willing to go to. But in order to get an extension done, I think the contract would have to reach $100 million to $105 million. That is a difficult price to work out right now. Yet, there is more available cap space, given the moves we have already made. There will need to be some creativity in the contract for how each year’s salary will work out. No doubt, would Brett Veach or ourselves want to keep Chris Jones. However, here is a different option we could see, if need be.
Trade Jones Away
The team that could go all in on a trade for Jones is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Having just signed Tom Brady, the excitement is building for this dormant NFC squad. Tampa Bay was pretty good against the run last year. Putting Jones along the defensive line with Vita Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett would continue dominance in the front seven.
Say the Chiefs can get back the Buccaneers 2020 first round pick (14 overall) and 2020 third round pick (76 overall). The Chiefs would then have to give back a pick as well, to satisfy Tampa Bay. So, say a trade goes down with these results.
Chiefs get: 2020 first round pick (14th overall), 2020 third round pick (76th overall) and 2021 second round pick
Buccaneers get: Chris Jones (with new long term extension), 2020 second round pick (63rd overall)
Obviously, Brett Veach would not want to trade away the star defender if he can help it. Though, if you have to bite the bullet, this is a hefty amount of draft capital to get back in return. Kansas City would hold four picks in the first three rounds, in this particular scenario.
Be on the lookout for more Chiefs offseason coverage. Included, will be draft prospect profiles and free agency topics. Also, there will be another part of the Playing Brett Veach series. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.