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Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli Clarifies Available Salary Cap Space

Several sources -- most notably ESPN -- have reported that the Kansas City Chiefs have a whopping $63 million dollars of cap space to work with in the offseason.

Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride reported that Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli appeared on 810 WHB to clear up the figure just a bit.

Although the $63 million number is accurate as of this moment, that figure is basically a technicality at this point.Here's what happens. At this point in time, the NFL has not completely reconciled the cap for 2012. And what I mean by saying that is that any incentives that were earned by players for teams in 2011 -- and let's just say a player had a Pro Bowl incentive in their contract for $200,000 -- because that happens after the season and all incentives in 2011 are reconciled during the month February, that isn't yet showing against the 2012 cap that's on the books with the league office where these people get their numbers from.

The other thing that happens is any players that have Paragraph 5 escalators, which are base salary escalators, for the 2012 sason, even if that triggered back in 2010, 2009 or this past season, those numbers aren't showing against the cap yet.

In our case, it was showing that we had $63 million in cap space. The reality is that, that's true in that moment but, on the first day of the league year, the number of escalators and bonuses from last year will be netted out.

So say for instance, what we have is $63 million in cap space showing with the league. However, there are $18 million in escalators that seven different players have earned -- contracts on some players that were done four years ago -- but even though they triggered, it hasn't been netted against the cap yet.

So we've got $18 million in escalators, another $5 million of incentives that were earned last season that will count against that, plus what we don't have is our restricted free agent tenders. What that number is, is approximately $25 million against the $63 million that isn't showing yet.

Confusing? Sure, but the bottom line is that once all the incentives, escalators and various other things are taken out of that $63 million cap space, it looks like the Chiefs will still have between $37 and $38 million to work with before the 2012 season kicks off, which is more than enough to make a legitimate splash.

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