Could the Chiefs fit DeSean Jackson's deal under the cap?

04/02/2014 5:09 PM

04/02/2014 5:09 PM

I know you all are just about sick of hearing about DeSean Jackson. This is it for a while, I promise.

But after the terms of leaked out on Tuesday, I received a few questions from readers (

here and here

) wondering whether the Chiefs could have fit the star receiver’s new three-year, $24 million deal with Washington under the cap.


The answer:

The Chiefs currently have about $4.5 million in cap room, and Jackson’s 2014 cap number is $4.25 million. That’s a tight fit, and remember, the Chiefs will still need $4 million or $5 million to sign their upcoming draft picks.

However, this is probably a good time to point out that Washington only had about $6.3 million in cap space before it signed Jackson, which isn’t that much more than the Chiefs had. So just to be sure, I asked salary cap expert and former agent Joel Corry if the Chiefs could have made Jackson’s new deal work.

“It would have been tough,” Corry said. “They would have to restructure people in order to accommodate that.”

Corry said Dwayne Bowe’s massive contract could have posed some problems for the Chiefs down the road, too. Bowe boasts a $14 million cap number in 2015, while Jackson’s cap number that year figures to rise to $8 million or $9 million. That’s a lot to invest in one position, especially when the Chiefs will need to ante up to pay a rising star in outside linebacker Justin Houston.

“You can’t have an $8 million receiver and an $11 million receiver, too,” Corry said.

Bowe’s stats in 2013 were underwhelming. He caught 57 passes for 673 yards and five touchdowns, which is hardly the production you’d want from a player of his caliber.

In January, he vowed to come back this season and in better shape, but the Chiefs have an out if he fails to live up to expectations. Corry said the Chiefs can save roughly $9.5 million on the 2015 salary cap if they designate Bowe as a post-June 1 cut, which essentially allows teams to spread out the cap hit from releasing a player over a few seasons instead of one.

There are a couple of problems with doing this, however. For one, per NFL rules, the Chiefs wouldn’t see that cap space until June 2015, long after the top free agents have come off the market. That’s why most cash-strapped teams typically use post-June 1 cuts to create enough cap room to sign their draft picks, and little else.

Also, making Bowe a post June-1 cut would force the Chiefs to carry about $4.5 million in dead money in 2015 and $6 million in dead money in 2016, which only extends the cap misery another year.

“It’s not an ideal solution,” Corry said.

But it may be one that becomes increasingly palatable to the Chiefs, especially if coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey find themselves looking to rectify the lack of cap space they’ve dealt with this offseason.


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