With several key in-house contributors slated to hit unrestricted free agency in 2012, and an expectation to be active participants in free agency, the Chiefs have chosen to execute the salary cap “carry over” clause tied to the new CBA.
The Chiefs ranked among the NFL’s top-10 in committed cash last season after signing a number of key free agents, according to Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. However, the club managed to maintain a $20 million salary cap surplus which will be carried over for potential signings in 2012 and beyond.
Any player re-signed before the start of free agency in March will eat into that surplus.
“We ended last year about 20 million dollars under the salary cap which was a little bit less than has been reported,” Hunt recently told Steven St. John of Sports Radio 810 WHB. “We chose to carry that salary cap space over, which is something that you can do in the new CBA, you can carry it over.
“The reason that we chose to carry it over is we anticipate needing it in 2012 and 2013, both to continue signing our free agents as well as being able to go out and sign some free agents from outside.”
Hunt is referring to Page 96 of the new CBA, which reads…
“(v) Carrying Over Room. A Club may “carry over” Room from one League Year to the following League Year by submitting notice in writing signed by the owner to the NFL no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the start of the new League Year indicating the maximum amount of Room that the Club wishes to carry over. The NFL shall promptly provide a copy of any such notice to the NFLPA. The amount of Room carried over will be adjusted downward based on the final Room available after the year-end reconciliation.”
Essentially, the clause means that the team will receive an extra $20 million toward the 2012 cap number, which has yet to be set.
“It’s been a very big priority for us,” Hunt said. “When the team headed in a young direction starting back in 2008, one of the things we had in the back of our mind is that when those guys got to the end of their first contract, we wanted to be in a position to retain them if they were they type of players that we wanted for the future.
“We’ve obviously done that with a number of guys over the last several years, we’ve got a couple of key guys this year, we’ll have a couple of key guys next year and that’s just going to be a part of the philosophy. We want guys that start their careers with the Chiefs to play for as long as possible.”
Hunt believes the Chiefs current cap standing has put the team in position to make decisions based on winning and nothing else.
“Money is never a consideration when it comes to rebuilding the football team other than we do have to pay attention to the salary cap,” said Hunt.
Each of the NFL’s 32 teams will have a surplus to spend should they choose to execute the “carry-over” clause. No team used all of their cap room in 2011, though some teams have very little surplus to carry over.
Several teams have already begun releasing players and restructuring contracts to stay within cap limitations.
The Chiefs will also need to dedicate approximately $5 million in 2012 toward signing its rookie class.
“Last year when I was speaking with some of the media about our salary cap situation I told them that this situation is going to change dramatically as we go forward and as we go onto 2012 and 2013,” Hunt said.
“We are going to utilize that cap space and thank goodness we’ve been able to carry over the space that we had into 2011, 2012 and 2013 because it’s really going to help us, it’s going to give us an advantage against other teams that will have to let guys go.”