Chiefs Dropped $11 Million in Cap Space to Start Combine Week: Here’s Why

Chiefs pay out $11 million in performance escalators in 2024.

Getty Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke at the 2024 NFL Combine.

The Kansas City Chiefs had an $11 million decrease in cap space at the start of combine week, dropping from approximately $28 million to just under $17 million.

On February 27, Arrowhead Pride writer Jared Sapp took to X to explain this reduction.

“The mystery of the #Chiefs rapidly declining salary cap space has been solved,” Sapp noted. “It’s now down to about $17 million because [linebacker] Nick Bolton, [center] Creed Humphrey, [tight end] Noah Gray, and [guard] Trey Smith have earned mandatory fourth year raises from the Proven Performance Escalator [PPE].”

Over the Cap confirms Sapp’s report, listing these four players as the Chiefs’ performance escalators for the 2021 draft. According to OTC, running back Isiah Pacheco and cornerback Jaylen Watson are due for similar raises in 2025.

More on the Chiefs’ Performance Escalators in 2024

Sapp provided more information for fans in a social media thread, relaying that Humphrey received the largest 2024 salary bump.

“Creed, who has played almost every snap since joining KC, has to have his [2024] salary equal to the value of a 2nd round restricted free agent tender,” the analyst stated. “With a huge salary jump, he might be more of an extension candidate than imaged.”

Sapp also added that “the Proven Performance Escalator has not been a big deal for KC [in the past] because, if you recall, their draft classes before 2021 had been pretty [average] outside of one Patrick Mahomes.”

And Mahomes himself would not be eligible for a PPE. Per OTC, this league-mandated increase in compensation does not apply to former first-round selections.

Chiefs GM Brett Veach Side-Steps WR Question

While speaking at the NFL combine, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was asked about the wide receiver room and how he plans to improve it this offseason.

“I think, much like any position, we’re always looking to get better,” Veach replied. “Whether it be receiver, O-line, D-line, DBs — any opportunity we can to make our team better, we’re going to do that.”

“So, we put a high priority on the depth of our roster, and so we’ll attack that much like we do all the positions and try to get the very best [WR] players that we can [as we] go through our process,” he continued on. Noting that “every team’s process is a little bit different and unique.”

“We have our [process], and there’s always a chance to refine and tune things, but again, I think in this league because of such a long season — we’re talking 20-game season [including playoffs] — it’s a marathon and you have to attack every position [with] the mindset of having that depth because it’s not a matter of if but when players go down [with injury],” Veach concluded.

Needless to say, this entire response could be described as “GM speak,” considering the Chiefs exec said a whole lot of words without ever truly answering the question.

Despite this bit of side-stepping from Veach, Kansas City is expected to target a wide receiver or two in free agency or the draft. But will they use premium money or draft capital on one?

Veach has rarely spent big on the position in free agency, but he has selected a pass-catcher in the second round in back-to-back offseasons since trading Tyreek Hill. The first draft flyer (Skyy Moore) has not worked out so far, while 2023 rookie Rashee Rice seems to be a nice hit after just one season in the league.

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