What the Travis Kelce contract means for Chiefs cap situation

The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Travis Kelce to a contract extension, but how does the deal affect their cap situation?

On the heels of the deal the San Francisco 49ers gave George Kittle, the Kansas City Chief signed tight end Travis Kelce to a four-year, $57 million contract extension on Thursday with $25 or $28 million in guarantees depending on the report. With two years left on his current deal, he’s now tied to Chiefs for the next six seasons.

Despite being against the salary cap this year, the Chiefs have signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes and defensive lineman Chris Jones to big contracts this offseason. Some back-loaded money has made it work, especially when looking at the early cash flow on Mahomes’ huge deal. And as Mike Garafolo of NFL Network mentioned Friday morning, Jones and Kelce did not get a signing bonus. When it was all said and done, as Garafolo also reported, the Chiefs only added about $8 million to the 2020 payroll across all three contracts.

What does the Travis Kelce deal mean for Chiefs’ salary cap situation?

Mahomes made it clear all along he wanted to allow the Chiefs to keep a great team around him. An updated look from Over The Cap shows he, Jones and Kelce are not among the Chiefs’ top-four cap hits for this year. Jones (a little over $15 million) is fifth, Kelce ($11.2 million) is eighth and Mahomes ($5.346 million) is all the way down at 11th. It’s worth noting Kelce and Mahomes are playing out current deals before their new deals fully kick in, but it’s all still a little mind-blowing.

Garafolo has the cash flow details on Kelce’s extension, which notably changes nothing for his 2020 cash and adds a reasonable $4.25 million for 2021.

The players’ desire to stay together and build a dynasty in Kansas City, led by Mahomes, is a major driving force to making it all work within the salary cap. But in parallel to that is the work spearheaded by Chiefs’ general manager Brett Veach, who did not use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to not pony up for contracts this offseason (see Jerry Jones on Dak Prescott just this week).

The broader ramifications of Kelce’s contract extension will be determined down the road when structure and outs are clearer and his performance helps dictate things. But over the next three years keeping one of the NFL’s best tight ends in the fold, while he is probably still in that category, is not going to be too costly for the Chiefs.

Next: Fantasy Football 2020: Is Kelce or Kittle the TE1?

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