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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Andrew Gamble

Kansas City Chiefs find sneaky way to avoid salary cap with Patrick Mahomes contract restructure

The Kansas City Chiefs created some salary cap space by restructuring reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes’ mega contract for the 2023 season.

Last month in Arizona, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. The 27-year-old completed 21-of-27 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns as he was named the game’s MVP.

According to ESPN, the Chiefs chose to convert $12million of the quarterback’s 2023 roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $9.6m in cap space for the upcoming season. It gives the reigning champions wiggle room to sign free agents or complete trades for valuable players.

Before the move, Mahomes’ contract was set to count $49.3m against the Chiefs’ salary - but that number is cut down to $39.7m as the Chiefs are pushing the burden of his contract to future years to maximise their championship window. In July 2020, the two-time MVP signed the most lucrative contract in American sports history - a 10-year extension worth $477m with another $26m available in bonuses to stay in Kansas City through the 2031 season.

Mahomes now has a $34.4m roster bonus for this season after it was originally a $49.293m cap hit. He is clearly committed to winning, while he won’t mind receiving the money in the form of a signing bonus.

Following the salary moves, the Chiefs now have $13.6m available in cap space, although that doesn’t include incoming defensive end Charles Omenihu’s contract after he left the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs have also signed Jawaan Taylor from the Jacksonville Jaguars to beef up their offensive line, while they re-signed defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton earlier this week.

Patrick Mahomes' contract is the largest in Amercian sports history (Adam Hunger/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

The Chiefs could be in search of a receiver in free agency after JuJu Smith-Schuster - who tallied 933 yards and three touchdowns last season - joined the New England Patriots on Wednesday. The franchise will likely look to add another weapon alongside returning stars Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore.

Kansas City have lost several key players who contributed to their championship win last season. The team bid farewell to defensive lineman Frank Clark, while safety Juan Thornhill signed with the Cleveland Browns and defensive tackle Khalen Saunders joined the New Orleans Saints.

The signing of Taylor could prove crucial; the Chiefs also lost offensive tackle duo Andrew Wylie and Orlando Brown Jr. Wylie signed with the Washington Commanders while Brown inked a monster four-year deal worth $64m with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Chiefs’ AFC rivals. His $31m signing bonus is the largest ever awarded to an offensive lineman.

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