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Chiefs restructure Travis Kelce’s contract, free up cap space before trade deadline

The Kansas City Chiefs have restructured TE Travis Kelce’s contract to free up some cap space.

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks down field against the Las Vegas Raiders at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on October 10, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The NFL trade deadline is typically one of the least exciting in sports. Teams are reluctant to make big moves, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t look into moves around the league and try to see what they may mean for a team. On Tuesday, the Kansas City Chiefs restructured TE Travis Kelce’s contract to free up some cap space. The move comes about two weeks before this year’s trade deadline, and here are some reasons it could’ve been made.

Christian McCaffrey

Let’s go full conspiracy right off the bat. Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t panned out for the Chiefs the way that you would expect a first-round running back to when he was drafted in 2020. The Carolina Panthers are listening to offers for CMC, and the Chiefs could decide to go full dynasty run by adding the star running back. His cap hit is only a little more than $1 million this year before ramping up next year. The front office for Kansas City has proved multiple times that money in the NFL isn’t real with strategic moves each year. This would be one of the biggest trade deadline deals in history for the NFL, so why not?

Cam Akers

The Akers era in Los Angeles is coming to an end one way or another. We still haven’t heard what has led to this situation, but assuming it is something with personnel behind the scenes. Akers is still only 23 years old and will likely upgrade most backfields that he joins. It doesn’t make much sense for him to join the Chiefs, but they only added 3.45 million in cap space with the restructure, so this move at least falls under that parameter.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Let’s take the timing of the trade deadline out of this seemingly random move. The other option is that it is to free up some cap space to entice a free agent to come to town. Beckham Jr. is still a free agent as he is rehabbing a torn ACL that he suffered in the Super Bowl in February. He was projected to be ready to get back to the field in early November, so Kansas City may be looking to entice him to play with Patrick Mahomes and go on another championship run.


This option is less fun but is more what Kansas City needs. I nearly included McCaffrey’s teammate DJ Moore with this selection, but I think that the team would have to send the Panthers a wide receiver back in return and can’t figure out who it would be. The Chiefs' offense is honestly fine when they are clicking and have weekly upside with Mahomes under center to compete in each game they play.

The defense is another situation. The Chiefs could look to add a pass rusher, an outside linebacker or another corner at the trade deadline. The improved cap space doesn't have them going after a superstar, but they need a spark to their defense that can keep up with their powerhouse offense.