Less than 24 hours before the start of the NFL’s new league year, the Kansas City Chiefs made an expected move to create the necessary salary-cap space to continue building their roster for next season in the hopes of becoming the first franchise to win three consecutive Super Bowls.

The Chiefs converted $27 million of quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ contract to create $21.6 million worth of salary-cap space, a team source told The Athletic.

The structure of Mahomes’ contract — the longest in the sport at 10 years — was designed for this exact move. By converting this amount of the roster bonus in Mahomes’ contract into a signing bonus, the Chiefs should now be able to address two of their biggest needs: a veteran receiver and a veteran left tackle to protect Mahomes’ blind side.


Last offseason, the Chiefs made a similar move. The team created $9.6 million in salary-cap space by converting $12 million of Mahomes’ $34.4 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. Kansas City then used most of that to acquire linebacker Drue Tranquill and safety Mike Edwards and re-sign defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.

Entering Tuesday, the Chiefs were projected to be $5.65 million over the limit, according to Over the Cap. That projection is after the team re-signed pass rusher Chris Jones to a five-year, $158.75 million contract, including $60 fully guaranteed. The Chiefs could create more cap space by trading cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who is on the team’s franchise tag. Trading Sneed would give the Chiefs another $19.8 million in cap space. Without Sneed, the Chiefs still have three starting-caliber cornerbacks in Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson. They could also convert part of the contracts for left guard Joe Thuney or right tackle Jawaan Taylor.

With cap space, the Chiefs should fully enter the receiver market. The team was interested in acquiring receiver Darnell Mooney, who agreed Tuesday to a three-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Curtis Samuel, Marquise Brown and Josh Reynolds are among the remaining receiver options.

General manager Brett Veach also will look to solidify the offensive line by acquiring a veteran left tackle, a player who can start while Wanya Morris, a second-year player, continues to develop. The best free-agent options are Tyron Smith, Donovan Smith, David Bakhtiari and Duane Brown.

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(Photo: Mark Konezny / USA Today)