Chiefs restructure Mahomes’ contract to make cap room

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes talks to the crowd during the Super Bowl victory celebration last month in Kansas City. (Associated Press)
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes talks to the crowd during the Super Bowl victory celebration last month in Kansas City. (Associated Press)

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Chiefs have restructured quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ contract, a person familiar with the decision said Wednesday, giving the Super Bowl champions some much-needed salary cap space.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the financial details were not public.

By restructuring the contract, which would have counted more than $58 million against the cap for the upcoming season, the Chiefs created more than $21 million to use elsewhere. That could include a much-publicized pursuit of help at wide receiver, their need for a new left tackle to protect Mahomes’ blind side, or in re-signing their own free agents.

Mahomes also adjusted his 10-year, $450-million contract in 2021 to help the Chiefs with their financial situation.

The Chiefs already signed All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones to a five-year, $158.75-million contract, which included $95 million guaranteed during the first three years. But that deal was structured so it only cost $7.35 million against the cap this year.

Backup linebacker Drue Tranquill also signed a three-year, $19-million deal to return before Wednesday’s official start to free agency, and defensive tackle Mike Pennel returned to the Chiefs on a one-year deal after playing well in their Super Bowl win.

The creation of some additional salary cap space also could mean L’Jarius Sneed, who quietly emerged as one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks last season, could remain in Kansas City. The Chiefs used the franchise tag on him, which would equate to a one-year, $19.8-million deal, but many expected them to ultimately trade Sneed for draft compensation and salary cap relief.

Now, the Chiefs could keep him at the tag number or use their newfound wiggle room to sign him to a long-term deal.

“There isn’t much of a recruiting pitch that needs to be made with Kansas City,” Tranquill said Wednesday. “You have incredible leadership, top to bottom. You have a culture that’s a winning culture, that is not about egos or self or guys getting paid; we all want our guys to get paid, but everything at the Chiefs and in our organization is about winning, and it’s about hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.”

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