Red Zone

What the Eric Fisher extension did for the Chiefs’ salary cap space

The Chiefs’ decision to sign left tackle Eric Fisher to a four-year, $48 million contract extension over the weekend led many to wonder what the deal would do for the Chiefs’ puny amount of salary cap space for 2016.

The answer? Not much — at least for this year.

According to the NFL Players Association, the Chiefs now have $432,795 in cap space — the lowest in the NFL. Before the deal, they had $226,818, which means the Chiefs saved approximately $206,000 this year.

The Chiefs did net some savings in 2017, however, as Fisher’s cap charge dropped from $11.9 million to $9.45 million, creating a savings about $2.55 million.

Before the season, the Chiefs will probably have to make some moves to clear up space. Teams like to have at least a few million dollars available in case they have to make a veteran addition or two because of injury or performance.

A few notes about Fisher’s contract. He will have cap numbers of $6.8 million for 2016, $9.45 million for 2017, $13.9 million for 2018, $13.1 million for 2019, $12 million for 2020 and $11.5 million for 2021. The contract included a $12.75 million signing bonus.

A significant portion of the guarantees in 2018 and 2019 — about $20 million — are guaranteed for injury, but a significant portion of Fisher’s 2018 salary (approximately $8.2 million) is essentially guaranteed, also, because he only has to be on the roster on the third day of the 2017 league year (which will be in early March) to collect it.

But a significant portion of his 2019 salary (approximately $8.5 million) is only guaranteed if he’s on the roster by the third day of the 2019 league year. That means the Chiefs could reasonably get out of the deal before the 2019 season if Fisher does not live up to expectations.

The deal also contains a total of $2.5 million in Pro Bowl escalators from 2017 to 2021 and a total of $1.5 million in per game-roster bonuses from 2019 to 2021. There are also $1 million workout bonuses between 2018 and 2021.