With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, one of the next big events on the NFL calendar is free agency, which begins on March 16.
The Kansas City Chiefs have 23 players that are pending unrestricted free agents. Among them is Charvarius Ward, who has developed into a viable starting cornerback in the NFL since entering the league undrafted in 2018.
Unfortunately, Ward’s rise from an undrafted prospect to an NFL starter in Kansas City could have him playing elsewhere in 2022.
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“The Vikings must address the corner spot opposite Cameron Dantzler, and a new regime will want a new outlook for the position,” Fowler wrote on February 15. “Ward’s ability to battle in-man coverage will make him an attractive option for several teams.”
The Vikings’ coaching staff was flipped when their season came to end. They fired eight-year head coach Mike Zimmer and are finalizing a deal with Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to be their new head coach, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on February 15.
Ward will likely earn a sizable contract when he hits free agency for the first time this offseason. If his demands are too big for the Chiefs — who may try to retain Tyrann Mathieu, another defender who will garner a bigger contract than Ward — then Ward landing in Minnesota is very much in the realm of possibility.
Fowler Predicts Mathieu, Brown Re-Signing With Chiefs
Along with Ward, two other names that were brought up by Fowler were Mathieu and Chiefs starting left tackle Orlando Brown. Fowler believes that both of those players will re-sign with Kansas City this offseason.
“Mathieu is part of the fabric of Chiefs football now. He makes all the calls for the secondary and can still make splash plays. But with Mathieu turning 30 in May, will the Chiefs be concerned about the cost of a player entering his 10th season,” Fowler wrote.
“Kansas City traded for Brown last year knowing it would likely franchise tag him. The Chiefs want to see the pairing through. Brown gives Kansas City the best chance to strengthen its run-game identity.”
New Restructure Potential Shows Chiefs’ Real Cap Space
A new page on the OverTheCap website shows the “restructure potential” for each NFL team.
The page shows what each team’s cap space would look like for the 2022 season if they restructured all their current contracts by converting “scheduled payments such as base salary or roster bonuses into signing bonuses that are prorated equally across the length of the contract, over a maximum of five years,” per the website.
For Kansas City, if they were to do “simple restructures,” they would have $58.1 million in available cap space. If they were to do “maximum restructures,” they would have $94.7 million in available cap space.
Those numbers don’t exemplify how much money the team will actually free up this offseason to spend. However, it tells us the kind of flexibility the Chiefs have with their current player contracts to move around money, bring in/retain players, and continue to compete for championships moving forward.