Monday saw a lot of activity for the Kansas City Chiefs. Although we already knew that the Chiefs were going apply the franchise tag to Dee Ford it became official Monday. Word came that the Chiefs will discuss Dee Ford in trade talks with other teams. Reports also surfaced that said the Chiefs are going to try to trade Justin Houston and release him if they cannot make a deal.
Chiefs’ fans first thoughts might be that the team is making a bad defense even worse with these moves but I would disagree. The Chiefs are moving in exactly the direction they need to move to win a Super Bowl with Patrick Mahomes as their quarterback.
Spotrac.com currently shows the Chiefs with $8.9 million of cap space. Justin Houston would take up 11% of the team’s salary spending with a base salary of $15.25 million in 2019 to go along with bonuses that cause a total cap hit of $21.1 million. Houston is due to make $17 million with a cap hit of $19 million in 2020. If the Chiefs trade or release Houston prior to June 1 they will get a cap savings of $14 million. If they waited until after June 1 the cap savings would be $15.5 million.
Houston has had some great seasons with the Chiefs but age and injuries are a big concern for the Chiefs with Houston at this time. The Chiefs can give themselves more cap space and get younger by moving Justin Houston. A concern is that Houston signs with another AFC West team and comes back to hurt the Chiefs. However, if the Chiefs thought that Houston to make that much of a difference they would keep him. The Chiefs’ thinking is sound and the decision is the right one. They have to do what is best for their roster and not be paranoid about where Houston might land.
With the franchise tag Dee Ford is set to make $15.443 million in 2019 or 8.17% of the Chiefs’ cap. Ford did not live up to expectations until this past season. Even then he was really good at one thing: rushing the passer. According to Pro Football Focus Dee Ford led all edge rushers in pressures for the season. He is not a good run defender.
This Chiefs have said that they plan on having Ford on the team in 2019 but that they are listening to offers. If the Chiefs get a decent offer for Ford they should make the trade and use the savings on someone else. If they don’t get an acceptable offer then another year of Dee Ford is not the worst thing in the world. Ford does bring some value although not enough for the salary he will be paid unless he improves against the run which is not likely. Ford would be playing another season in hopes of getting a big contract. We all hope that if he is on the Chiefs in 2019 that he plays himself into that big contract. That means he has improved a lot. If he does not prove himself the Chiefs can walk away with no damage to the cap after 2019.
The best case scenario is that the Chiefs are able to trade both Justin Houston and Dee Ford to get their roster younger, cheaper and better. Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill will be free agents after the 2019 season. Jones and Hill are players the Chiefs need to be able to resign. Getting Houston and Ford off of the roster will improve the cap space not just for 2019 but also to sign players like Jones and Hill for 2020 and beyond.