The Chiefs released defensive tackle Jaye Howard with a failed physical designation, according to the NFL’s transaction wire.
News of Howard’s release, which came out on Saturday, was surprising, considering the Chiefs only cleared $1.375 million in cap room with the move, thanks to the $5 million in dead money associated with it.
The Chiefs guaranteed $2.5 million of Howard’s $3.7 million salary for 2017 on the third day of the league year, but his contract states that if he signs with another team in 2017, they’ll be off the hook for the amount he signs for.
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.
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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.