This Chiefs player won't come close to earning his hefty salary in 2024 - Sport News

This Chiefs player won’t come close to earning his hefty salary in 2024

The Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in a bit of a financial bind to open the 2024 offseason. This isn’t uncommon to see from a team amid a Super Bowl dynasty. While their salary cap space didn’t prevent them from signing players like LB Drue Tranquill and WR Marquise Brown, it did have other repercussions.

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs

L’Jarius Sneed was one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in the league over the past two seasons. The Chiefs struck gold by landing Sneed in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL draft, but keeping him wasn’t an option as an extension couldn’t be reached.

Sneed was too good of a player to let walk away in free agency, and Kansas City was forced to slap the franchise tag on him. Unfortunately, his $19.8 million fully guaranteed salary wasn’t a cap figure they were able to work with, and Sneed was ultimately sent packing to Tennesee for a future third-round pick.

Nobody wants to see their favorite team part ways with one of their best players in the prime of his career, but the Chiefs were running out of time and options. All of this could have been prevented if it wasn’t for a questionable deal that Kansas City handed out during the 2023 free agency period.

Jawaan Taylor’s contract sitaution is awful for the Chiefs

During the 2023 offseason, the front office made a business decision to move on from Orlando Brown Jr. by signing Jawaan Taylor on March 13th, 2023. Two days later, Brown would sign a lucrative contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Taylor, a former 35th overall pick in the second round by the Jaguars in 2019, spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville. At 6’5” with an enormous wingspan, Taylor flashed his upside at times but was never a consistent player for the Jaguars.

Coming off an up-and-down season in Jacksonville in 2022, the Chiefs handed Taylor an extensive 4-year, $80 million contract — $4 million more per year than Brown received on his new deal with the Bengals.

So far, this is looking like a colossal mistake by the Chiefs.

In his first season in Kansas City in 2023, Taylor graded out as the 72nd-ranked offensive tackle in the NFL among 81 qualifying players, according to Pro Football Focus. His 49.8 overall grade last year was the lowest of his NFL career.

Here’s where things start to get scary. The Chiefs structured Taylor’s contract in a way to take an extremely low cap hit of just $5.285 during the 2023 season. By doing so, however, they will absorb substantial cap numbers over each of the next three seasons.

Taylor’s cap hit in 2024 is a cringe-worthy $24.725 million, per Over the Cap. This equates to 9.8 percent of the team’s total salary cap. Taylor also has a guaranteed salary of $20 million this year — making it impossible to get out of his deal until 2025 at the earliest. The pricey offensive tackle has a base salary of $19.5 million and a cap number of $24.725 million for each of the next three seasons.

Taylor was under the microscope last season and went viral for getting an early jump on the snap. The NFL quickly caught on. Taylor was penalized 5 times in Week 2 against the Jaguars (his former team) and recorded 20 total penalties on the season (though 2 were declined).

Taylor is a better player than his PFF grade would suggest, as his nimble feet and long arms help him do his best work as a pass-protector. But that doesn’t mean that he should be taking up nearly one-tenth of the team’s total salary cap. In order to salvage this contract, Jawaan Taylor needs to take a significant step forward in 2024 during his second season in Kansas City.

At 26 years old, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around, but Taylor’s steep contract numbers are looking unreasonably high for what the Chiefs are getting in return. Jawaan Taylor could prove to be an adequate option for the Chiefs at right tackle, but it’s hard to imagine him living up to his pay grade in 2024.

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