Chiefs’ $80 Million All-Pro Called Out as One of KC’s Worst Contracts

Getty Kansas City Chiefs starting left guard Joe Thuney.

The Kansas City Chiefs have several large contracts on the roster that will need to be manipulated in some way over the next year or two for salary cap purposes.

Among the largest contracts on the roster is starting left guard Joe Thuney’s four-year, $80 million deal, which Arrowhead Addict’s Jacob Milham writes is one of the worst contracts on the team.

“Thuney’s contract is one of the highest among offensive guards in the league,” Milham wrote in a July 21 article in which he named Kansas City’s three worst player contracts. “He carries a $22.1 million cap hit for this season and a $22.6 million cap hit in 2024 and 2023. That cap hit is the highest among all NFL guards, at $3 million more than the guard behind him.”

Milham went on to explain Thuney has been worth the money given to him by the Chiefs. The problem is, Thuney’s cap hits for the next three seasons are too large to deal with for a Kansas City roster that also has sizable cap hits in the coming years from Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones, Travis Kelce, and Jawaan Taylor, to name a few.

That’s why the defending Super Bowl champions could opt to cut ties with Thuney after the 2023 season, as cutting him with a post-June 1 designation in 2024 would save the Chiefs $16 million in each of the next two seasons according to Spotrac.

Chiefs Have Decisions to Make Along O-Line

After the 2023 season, the Chiefs have several decisions to make along the offensive line.

Along with potentially adjusting Joe Thuney’s contract, Kansas City also has the option to give new deals to center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith, as both players will be in the final year of their rookie deals in 2024. The team will also have a vacancy at left tackle since projected starting left tackle Donovan Smith will be a free agent in 2024 once his one-year deal expires.

There’s no telling how exactly the Chiefs will address the contracts along their offensive line in 2024, but one thing that remains clear is they will have to do something. Keeping superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes protected during his career is priority No. 1 for the franchise, so making sure the team has plenty of talent up front will always be at the forefront of the front office’s offseason to-do list.

Joe Thuney Ranked 2nd Among NFL Execs, Coaches, Scouts

ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler polled some of the league’s executives, coaches, and scouts this year to rank the league’s top 10 offensive interior linemen for 2023. On that list is Joe Thuney, who was ranked second overall, behind only Dallas Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin.

“The Chiefs are loaded with offensive linemen, but Thuney is the most valuable because he rarely makes a mistake, savvy, doesn’t commit penalties, holds up in the run or the pass,” an anonymous AFC executive told Fowler for the July 16 article. “Not an overwhelming athlete but just really good.”

Since joining Kansas City in 2021, Thuney has started a total of 32 games for the Chiefs and has allowed just 31 total pressures, according to PFF.

Averaging less than one pressure per game is a clear example of how incredibly valuable Thuney is, and why he’s been worth every penny given to him by the Chiefs.

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