Chiefs Rumors: Mike Evans update, Jones-Sneed with new cap, Hardman nixes FA suitor

Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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Chiefs Rumors: Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed return in play with increased salary cap

When initially looking ahead to the 2024 offseason for the Chiefs, it seemed as if the ultimate framework of the Super Bowl champions' decisions was already set.

Barring some salary cap gymnastics that even Mickey Loomis and the Saints would salivate over, Brett Veach appeared as if he would ultimately have to decide between retaining either defensive tackle Chris Jones or cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, especially with the latter flat-out stating Kansas City would have a hard time paying both stars.

Then came the bombshell from the league office on Friday that the NFL's salary cap is increasing to a record-high $255.4 million for the 2024 season. That increases the projected cap space for the Chiefs from a little over $15 million based on previous projections to $28.3 million, per Spotrac. That, in turn, increases the likelihood that both Jones and Sneed could return to Kansas City.

Jared Sapp of Arrowhead Pride did a fantastic job of breaking down this possibility simply, noting that this cap increase drastically increases the likelihood that the Chiefs can re-sign (or tag) Jones and Sneed, but it doesn't come without some potential hurdles to clear:

"By the end of the day on Friday, the path for Jones and Sneed to remain with the Chiefs is more realistic than at the start. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach will still have his work cut out for him as every prospective suitor can now afford to pay more than earlier anticipated."

Even if Veach still has to maneuver with the cap, the Chiefs' options have now opened up quite a bit more. There is room to save some salary via cuts and restructures with the added flexibility of being able to use the tag on one of Jones or Sneed while outright re-signing the other.

Of course, needs at receiver and on the offensive line further complicate matters, but there is still the draft too that could offer assistance in that capacity. The major takeaway for the Chiefs in regard to the cap increasing to this degree is that their hand is no longer entirely forced when it comes to their pair of big-name, high-priced impending free agents.