No player enjoys drudging away their careers on a team that gets eliminated from postseason contention by Thanksgiving. That's why cornerback Darrelle Revis signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots in 2014. In his one season with New England, Revis won Super Bowl XLIX with head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, solidifying his first-ballot entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For the current players on the Chiefs roster, becoming the premier destination means more competition and less compensation. The success also means that current players will want to be rewarded financially for their achievements.
It creates an interesting dynamic: players can argue for more money due to their success, while the team can argue to pay less in exchange for the success. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has done a magnificent job managing that dynamic so far, and he'll have to do it again during the 2024 NFL offseason. As Kansas City looks ahead, there are plenty of contracts the team will have to address.
The Chiefs will enter the 2024 NFL offseason with roughly $23.8 million in cap space, per Spotrac. That ranks 17th in the league.
Here's a look at their upcoming free agents.
Every Chiefs free agent for 2024: Predictions where they'll sign
- Chris Jones, DT: Kansas City Chiefs
- L'Jarius Sneed, CB: Kansas City Chiefs
- Drue Tranquill, LB: Kansas City Chiefs
- Mike Edwards, S: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Nick Allegretti, OG: Chicago Bears
- Donovan Smith, OT: Washington Commanders
- Mecole Hardman, WR: Baltimore Ravens
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB: Buffalo Bills
- Tommy Townsend, P: Cincinnati Bengals
- Tershawn Wharton, DE: Atlanta Falcons
- Willie Gay Jr., LB: Denver Broncos
- Blaine Gabbert, QB: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Jerick McKinnon, RB: Dallas Cowboys
- Derrick Nnadi, DT: New Orleans Saints
- Richie James, WR: Baltimore Ravens
- Blake Bell, TE: Miami Dolphins
- Deon Bush, S: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Michael Danna, DE: Arizona Cardinals
1. Chris Jones, defensive tackle
The Chiefs planned on extending All-Pro defensive tackle after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Instead, their best-laid plans turned went awry. Jones was reportedly seeking a contract that would have put him in the same vicinity as Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who signed a contract worth roughly $31 million per year.
Jones stood his ground and his holdout spilled into the regular season. His absence was notable in the Chiefs' Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions, and Kansas City brought Jones back on a one-year deal. With that deal set to expire, they'll have to get back to negotiations. It's hard to imagine that the All-Pro defensive tackle will be any cheaper after another productive season, but it's also hard to imagine that the Chiefs let him leave. Veach would love to find a way to get this deal done.
Spotrac estimates Jones' value at $85.4 million over three years — an average of $28.4 million per year.
2. L'Jarius Sneed, cornerback
The entire Chiefs front office is probably kicking themselves for not extended Sneed last offseason. In the final year of his contract, Sneed played like the best cornerback in the league. The first-team All-Pro didn't allow a single touchdown in coverage during the regular season. The 27-year-old was an integral part of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense, and a big reason why Kansas City made it to the Super Bowl. According to Spotrac, his market value comes out to a four-year, $65.3 million contract — an average of $16.3 million per year.
Veach has been notorious for not investing in cornerbacks, but then again, he hasn't had a cornerback play like Sneed before. Expect Sneed to return to Kansas City next season.
3. Drue Tranquill, linebacker
Linebacker Drue Tranquill certainly helped his market value by proving his on-field value in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense. It's rare to see a linebacker drop into a deep zone for an inverted cover-2 look — and even rarer to see it happen in the AFC Championship Game. While Nick Bolton was expected to be the Chiefs' star linebacker this year, it was Tranquill who claimed that title. In 16 games this season, Tranquill has 78 tackles, seven tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defended.
Tranquill is just in his fourth year, and Spotrac's estimate of $6.9 million per year is something the Chiefs could try to squeeze into their budget.
4. Mike Edwards, safety
The Chiefs knew safety Mike Edwards well before they signed him. After all, he was a part of the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that turned Patrick Mahomes' improvisational theater into a desperation act. Edwards limited opposing quarterbacks to a 48.4 percent completion rate when targeted this season. He's also proven to be a ball hawk, compiling eight interceptions, five fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and four defensive touchdowns over his five-year NFL career.
5. Nick Allegretti, offensive guard
Nobody cares about backup offensive linemen until their needed. Allegretti proved his value when All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney suffered a pectoral injury in the Chiefs' Divisional Round win against the Buffalo Bills. Allegretti stepped up to the plate against the Baltimore Ravens' No. 1 defense and filled in admirably. The Chiefs would probably like to keep him, but it might be wiser to find a cheaper alternative.
If he performs well in the Super Bowl, he could attract attention from a team like the Chicago Bears.