The Chiefs released defensive tackle Jaye Howard on Saturday, multiple sources confirmed to The Star.
The move comes as a bit of surprise, especially since Chiefs coach Andy Reid gave an update on Howard as recently as Monday, saying he’s doing fine after hip surgery.
The Chiefs, who had approximately $3 million in cap space prior to the move according to the NFL Players Association, will clear $1.375 million in cap room with $5 million in dead money thanks to the move, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that while the Chiefs guaranteed $2.5 million of Howard’s $3.7 million salary for 2017 on the third day of the league year, his contract states that if he signs with another team in 2017, they’ll be off the hook for the amount he signs for.
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So if Howard were to make, say, $1 million with another team in 2017, the Chiefs’ dead money from his release would be reduced from $5 million to $4 million, thus creating $2.375 million in cap space, not $1.375 million. The Chiefs could, per the contract, create up to $2.5 million in additional cap space if Howard were to sign elsewhere for at least that amount, according to salary cap expert Joel Corry. The signing does not need to occur before the draft to provide the Chiefs some cap relief.
Howard, 28, was limited to eight games in 2016 due to a hip injury that landed him on injured reserve midway through the season. He recorded 23 tackles and a sack and started four games.
His best season as a Chief came in 2015, when he played in 16 games – starting 13 – and recorded 36 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks. Howard signed a two-year, $12 million deal before last season.
Howard’s release leaves the Chiefs with a somewhat-thin interior front after the offseason departure of Dontari Poe. Allen Bailey is a multi-year returning starter, and he’ll be back, along with second-year pro Chris Jones, who is coming off a marvelous rookie year.
The Chiefs also signed Philadelphia Eagles nose tackle Bennie Logan to a one-year deal, and recently brought Kendall Reyes — who spent the last half of the 2016 season with the Chiefs — in for a visit.
Other defensive linemen on the roster include Jarvis Jenkins, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, T.J. Barnes, Davis King, Montari Hughes and Cory Johnson.