At $6.4 million, the Chiefs have the least amount of salary cap space available in the league. They don’t expect to be major players, but can still improve their roster
After signing safety Eric Berry and guard Laurent Duvarnay-Tardif to long-term extensions, the Chiefs are right up against the cap. They freed up some cap space by releasing legend Jamaal Charles and will free up an additional $6.75 million from declining the option on Nick Foles, assuming they don’t bring him back on a restructured deal.
With Dontari Poe as their only notable free agents, the Chiefs were expected to be quiet once free agency opened Thursday. It remains unlikely that Poe comes back as he already has received interest from other teams. This will likely drive his price out of the Chiefs’ range.
It will be worth watching if the Chiefs decide to bring back one of their other two free agent defensive lineman, Kendall Reyes, and Jarvis Jenkins. Both played well while filling in for the injured Allen Bailey and Jaye Howard last year. Providing they can be signed to a reasonable deal, I believe the team would prefer to have Reyes back.
Searching for Gems
The lone free agent from a different team that the Chiefs have shown interest in so far is 49ers inside linebacker Gerald Hodges.
Most fans don’t know much about Hodges, but he had a very productive 2016 season, racking up 83 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Only 26 years old, it’s surprising that he isn’t generating more interest. He’s much better against the run than against the pass, which would be perfect for the Chiefs. They struggled to stop the run all year.
The Chiefs struggled to stop the run once Derrick Johnson went down with an injury last year. Linebackers Ramik Wilson and Justin March are promising, but adding Hodges could help out a lot next season, especially if Johnson decides to retire.
Looking Forward to the Draft
Aside from bringing in a guy here and there, the Chiefs aren’t likely to make a splash in free agency. Bringing Berry back was the top priority, now they can look forward to stockpiling talent in the draft.
The Chiefs have made a habit of knowing when to let their free agents walk. They received four additional compensatory picks this year for losing Sean Smith, Tyvon Branch, Chase Daniel, and Jeff Allen. They’re poised to earn some more next year if Poe and Foles sign elsewhere.
I expect them to look at quarterbacks, running backs, edge rushers and cornerbacks early on in the draft, where thave ten total draft picks.