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Kansas City Chiefs 2022 free agency outlook

The Chiefs head into 2022 free agency coming off an 12-5 season. We break down their free agents, cap space, and more.

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s safe to say the 2022 season did not go as planned for the Kansas City Chiefs. After a 12-5 finish, they had no problems sending the Steelers home in the opening round of the playoffs. Then, Andy Reid’s squad won a tough game against the Bills to advance to the AFC Championship for the fourth year in a row, where the Bengals staged a second half comeback to snuff out Kansas City’s Super Bowl hopes.

A dynasty in the making, the Chiefs have a crucial offseason on tap this year. The offensive core of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are under contract, but the team is going to have to make some decisions about a few essential players headed for free agency and figure out how to use limited cap space to beef up a roster where nothing less than a Super Bowl berth is an acceptable outcome.

Last season’s salary cap number dropped to $182.5 million as the league dealt with the pandemic, but the 2022 cap rebound back up to $208 million according to Over The Cap. That increase should loosen a few team pocketbooks this offseason.

Franchise/Transition Tag possibilities

Left tackle Orlando Brown is the Chiefs’ top candidate to get the franchise tag this spring. Kansas City swapped a handful of draft picks in April of last year, including a first-round pick in the 2021 draft, to give the offensive line a bona fide anchor. Brown was on the final year of his rookie contract in 2021, and he can expect a significant pay bump this year. The tag would pay him an estimated $16.5 million on a one-year, guaranteed deal. But the team has made it clear that they want Brown to be their left tackle of the future, so if he does get the tag, it might just be a temporary solution while the two sides hammer out a new deal.

If the Chiefs agree to a long-term contract with Brown before the March 8 deadline, they could potentially tag another player ticketed for free agency. The most likely candidates would be safety Tyrann Mathieu or cornerback Charvarius Ward. Kansas City’s best cover corner, Ward is just 25 and coming off a season with 10 passed defended and two interceptions.

Salary cap

Estimated 2022 cap space: ($3,452,359)

Notable unrestricted free agents

Kansas City Chiefs 2022 UFAs

Player Pos. 2021 Team Snaps Age 2022 Team
Player Pos. 2021 Team Snaps Age 2022 Team
Orlando Brown LT Chiefs 94.40% 26
Tyrann Mathieu S Chiefs 89.20% 30
Charvarius Ward CB Chiefs 67.30% 26
Jarran Reed IDL Chiefs 63.70% 30
Daniel Sorensen S Chiefs 62.40% 32
Demarcus Robinson WR Chiefs 58.20% 28
Melvin Ingram EDGE Chiefs 52.00% 33
Ben Niemann LB Chiefs 49.80% 27
Byron Pringle WR Chiefs 49.00% 29
Darrel Williams RB Chiefs 47.70% 27
Mike Hughes CB Chiefs 45.40% 25
Andrew Wylie LG Chiefs 44.10% 28
Alex Okafor EDGE Chiefs 41.40% 31
Derrick Nnadi IDL Chiefs 40.20% 26
James Winchester LS Chiefs 29.40% 33
Blake Bell TE Chiefs 26.90% 31
Jerick McKinnon RB Chiefs 14.40% 30
Mike Remmers RT Chiefs 13.10% 33
Michael Burton FB Chiefs 7.90% 30
Marcus Kemp WR Chiefs 6.30% 27
Armani Watts S Chiefs 4.00% 26
Chad Henne QB Chiefs 2.60% 37
Dorian O'Daniel LB Chiefs 2.10% 28
Austin Blythe C Chiefs 1.00% 30
Kyle Long RG Chiefs 0.00% 34