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Chiefs’ Key Defensive Starter Becoming Surprising Cut Candidate

The Kansas City Chiefs have received excellent production this season from their defense. In years past the unit has been much maligned at points, but they are the engine driving Kansas City to success during the 2023 season.

Their usual high-powered offense has been stuck in the mud at points, but the defense has stepped up to answer the call and help the team win games. However, retaining everyone on this unit beyond the 2023 season may not be a possibility.

There are a lot of needs on the Chiefs roster, as they will be in the market for a wide receiver. Some help along the offensive line could also be needed, which means more cap space will have to be opened up.

NFL News & Rumors: Justin Reid, 2024 NFL Free Agency, Kansas City Chiefs Updates

As pointed out by Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report, Kansas City is projected to have $30.4 million in cap space, which seems like a good number to work with. However, if the franchise tag has to be used on star defensive tackle Chris Jones, it would cost the team $32.4 million right off the bat, eating up all their cap space.

Even if the franchise tag isn’t used on Jones, the front office would probably aim to open up a little more cap space if possible. That will lead to some cap casualties along the way. In Ballentine’s opinion, one person who could surprisingly be on the chopping block is starting safety Justin Reid.

“Cutting Justin Reid is one of the quickest ways to clear a significant amount,” Ballentine continued. “If they cut him, they will only be responsible for $3.5 million of his hit, giving them $10.7 million in cap space,” wrote Ballentine.

Reid has been a consistent producer and stalwart in the Chiefs’ secondary since 2022. He stepped in for Tyrann Mathieu, who departed and signed with the New Orleans Saints in free agency.

NFL News & Rumors: Justin Reid, 2024 NFL Free Agency, Kansas City Chiefs Updates

He has started 37 games and counting for the Chiefs, including playoff games. Based on his grades over at PFF, Reid has been solid during his tenure in Kansas City. But, when it comes to making roster decisions based on the salary cap, solid may not be enough to keep him around at that price tag.

However, there are ways for the Chiefs to open up more cap space without releasing Reid. Cutting Marquez Valdes-Scantling would save the team $12 million and other minor moves can be made that will add up quickly. Also, if they can agree to an extension with Jones or cornerback L’Jarius Snead, their 2024 salary cap number will shrink as well.

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