One of the most effective ways for the Kansas City Chiefs to free up cap space this offseason is by giving six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill a contract extension.
2022 marks the final year of Hill’s three-year, $54 million deal with Kansas City. The final year of his contract, unfortunately, brings along a $20.68 million cap as well, according to Over The Cap. So, extending Hill will presumably help reduce his cap hit in some form or fashion for 2022, and thus give the Chiefs more spending money this offseason.
While the team hasn’t officially come to terms on an extension for Hill, the details of what they could potentially give Hill for an extension have been leaked.
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Chiefs ‘Deep in Talks’ With Hill
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport gave an update on Hill’s contract negotiations with Kansas City on Wednesday, March 16.
“Tyreek Hill and the Kansas City Chiefs are in deep talks on a contract extension that would pay him more than $20 million per year,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Likely to be a shorter-term extension — perhaps three years. It is not done yet, but certainly, this is something that could happen in the coming days.”
As of right now, there are five wide receivers in the NFL that are paid, on average, $20 million per year: Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins ($27.2 million), Tennessee Titans’ Julio Jones ($22 million), Los Angeles Chargers’ Keenan Allen ($20.025 million) and Mike Williams ($20 million), and Cleveland Browns’ Amari Cooper ($20 million), per Over The Cap. Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams will likely earn above $20 million annually once he strikes a deal with the Packers at some point this offseason.
So, if Hill were to sign the type of deal that Rapoport reported, he would be paid like a top-tier receiver in the NFL, as he should.
Chiefs Cap Compliant Ahead of Free Agency
The official start of free agency is 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 16. By that time all 32 teams must be cap compliant, meaning they cannot be under the cap.
For the Chiefs — who were under the cap prior to the legal tampering period on Monday, March 14 — they will be cap compliant thanks to the restructure of Pro Bowl defensive end Frank Clark’s contract. Kansas City and Clark agreed to a restructured contract on March 14. The new deal is for two years and will pay Clark $29 million, with a maximum payout of $36 million, according to Rapoport.
Before the restructure, Clark was on the books with a $26.3 million cap hit for 2022, according to Over The Cap. If Kansas City wanted to cut him pre-June 1 on that contract, the team would have taken on $13.6 million in dead money. However, restructuring Clark’s deal (based on what we know right now about the contract) means the Chiefs owe Clark about $14.5 million annually. So, it costs the team roughly $1.1 million more to keep Clark instead of cutting him.
Based on the known terms of Clark’s restructured deal, the Chiefs free up roughly $11.56 million in cap space with the re-worked contract, according to Matt Verderame of FanSided.
Last season, Clark played in 14 regular-season games, recording 17 QB hits, 4.5 sacks, and four tackles for loss, per Pro Football Reference, which earned him a Pro Bowl nod for the third consecutive season. During three playoff games, he recorded four tackles, one tackle for loss, and one fumble recovery.