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Building a "super team" and sustaining success: Will the Kansas City Chiefs run into trouble in the future?

The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs made their second splash move in as many weeks on Tuesday, signing interior defender Chris Jones to a four-year deal worth up to $85 million, with $37 million due at signing and $60 guaranteed for injury.

Jones was scheduled to make $16.1 million as the Chiefs’ franchise player after earning the fourth-most wins above replacement of any player at his position since entering the NFL as a second-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. 

While there was a lot of talk about a trade for Jones during the offseason, nothing really materialized, as it was DeForest Buckner who ultimately netted his former team the first-round pick that the Chiefs were likely looking for.

Chris Jones ultimately signed for a hair less than Bucker did on a per-year basis, becoming the third-highest-paid interior defensive lineman in the NFL. Both players settled in below Los Angeles Rams superstar pass-rusher Aaron Donald.

The Chiefs are now the first NFL team to simultaneously pay three players — Patrick Mahomes, Frank Clark and Jones — $20 million-plus on a per-year basis. They are also the first team to ever pay two defensive players over $20 million per year.

The front office in Kansas City clearly sees dynasty potential and are not afraid to do what it takes to retain their star power. But while everything is sunshine and rainbows at the moment, we’ve seen this story before, though when you attempt to build a “super team” around Patrick Mahomes as opposed to Jared Goff or Blake Bortles, the odds are that you’ll be more successful.

That being said, this degree of extreme concentration of money to so few players has proven to be a difficult challenge to overcome — just ask the Rams and Jaguars. Just months ago, the two clubs collectively moved on from Todd Gurley II, Brandin Cooks, Cory Littleton, Nick Foles, A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell, among others.

The Rams still need to pay Jalen Ramsey what could be No. 1 cornerback money  — Darius Slay is currently No. 1 with an average per year (APY) of $16,683,333) — and Yannick Ngakoue has probably already subtweeted Jaguars general manager Tony Khan now that the news of Myles Garrett’s deal (five years, $125 million) is out.

When you allocate that much of your yearly salary cap space to so few guys, keeping your roster intact becomes borderline impossible. So, how do the Chiefs look going forward?

Note: All contract data comes courtesy of our friends at Over The Cap.

Total average pay per year given to players who are among the five highest paid at their position (not including special teams)
Rank Team No. of players Total APY
1 Chiefs 7 $138,423,400
2 Cowboys 4 $70,000,000
3 Eagles 4 $65,833,333
4 Browns 4 $60,350,000
5 Rams 2 $56,000,000
6 Falcons 3 $53,250,000
7 Seahawks 2 $53,000,000
8 Titans 4 $51,378,000
9 Texans 3 $46,000,000
10 Steelers 2 $45,000,000
11 Giants 3 $42,000,000
12 Bears 2 $38,100,000
13 Colts 2 $37,500,000
14 Packers 1 $33,500,000
15 Broncos 2 $31,833,333
16 Dolphins 2 $31,550,000
17 Saints 2 $30,750,000
18 Jets 2 $30,125,000
19 Panthers 2 $29,555,853
20 Washington 2 $29,030,000
21 Cardinals 2 $28,760,000
22 Raiders 2 $27,750,000
23 Jaguars 2 $27,550,000
24 Chargers 2 $21,857,000
25 Buccaneers 2 $19,825,000
26 Bengals 1 $18,171,000
27 Patriots 1 $14,781,000
28 Ravens 1 $13,750,000
29 Bills 1 $11,112,500
30 Vikings 1 $9,025,000
31 49ers 0 $0
31 Lions 0 $0
AVERAGE: 2.1875 players for a total APY of $36.4 million

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