The Chiefs may be purging their roster in preparation of free agency, but it appears at least one high-priced veteran has a chance to stay.
Linebacker Tamba Hali and the Chiefs have been working on a restructured deal, a source confirmed to The Star on Friday.
Hali, 31, told ESPN on Friday that he was “optimistic” a restructured deal would get done.
The Chiefs stand to save $9 million by releasing Hali, who has a cap number of $12 million this season, but he is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he finished with six sacks.
Even with the release Friday of defensive tackle Vance Walker, the Chiefs are still approximately $1.1 million over the salary cap thanks to the $13 million franchise tag they had to place on Justin Houston on Monday. The Chiefs have to be under the cap by Tuesday.
There also was some thought that the Chiefs might be willing to release Hali because at some point the team needs to let Dee Ford play. Ford, the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, spent the entire season behind Hali and Houston, which limited the amount of snaps Ford got, both in practice and games.
But if the two sides can agree to a restructure, it would not only provide the cap relief necessary, it would also provide protection in case Ford isn’t ready to play.