Go ahead and assemble that free-agent wish list, Chiefs fans. Dream big, because salary-cap room wonít be a problem.
And with new coach Todd Haley finally in the fold, he and general manager Scott Pioli can go to town.
A quarterback like New Englandís Matt Cassel? Pioli knows about him firsthand.
A linebacker like Arizonaís Karlos Dansby? Haley watched him in practice every day of the season.
The Chiefs would be able to sign both those players and then some like Carolinaís pass-rusher Julius Peppers. Research by The Kansas City Star shows the Chiefs have salary-cap commitments of about $85.6 million, or about $37 million less than the projected NFL limit of $123 million.
The Chiefs could clear plenty more cap room without much pain. Patrick Surtain, the fourth cornerback, has the teamís highest salary-cap figure at almost $9.8 million. A playerís cost against the salary cap includes a playerís base salary plus various bonuses.
Releasing Surtain, who is due a $7 million salary, would save the Chiefs an additional $3.8 million against their cap.
Two other aging veterans who also may not figure in to Kansas Cityís plans, linebacker Donnie Edwards and quarterback Damon Huard, are also among the Chiefsí highest-paid players.
The Chiefs donít have many prospective free agents of their own. Nine of their players donít have a 2009 contract, and the only one the Chiefs would probably view as urgent to retain is safety Jarrad Page.
Page would be a restricted free agent, giving the Chiefs the right to match any offer he would receive as long as they offer him a one-year contract.
The Chiefs might also view backup safety Jon McGraw, a potential unrestricted free agent, as a valuable player because of his special-teams skills. McGraw in 2008 concluded a two-year contract that paid him $645,000 last season.