Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor is set to become a free agent at the start of the 2021 league year, but the mechanism that allows him to become a free agent happens today.
Okafor agreed to restructure his contract with the Chiefs back in August, helping the team to clear $2 million in cap space for the 2020 NFL season. Okafor made just under $5 million this past season as a result of the restructure and he had another $2 million that he could earn as incentives.
Okafor’s original contract was a three-year deal worth $18 million. It wasn’t set to expire until 2022, but part of the restructure made it so that Okafor’s 2021 contract year would void today, Feb. 23. Kansas City will incur a $2 million charge against the 2021 salary cap because of bonus proration on the voided contract year. Basically, they have to pay back the money they borrowed last season. That number is already accounted for in salary cap projections, so this shouldn’t change anything on that end.
This restructure turned out to be a really smart move by the Chiefs’ front office given the trajectory of Okafor. He had lost his role as a starter after a torn pec sidelined him in 2019 and never regained it. When he was healthy in 2020, he was squarely in the rotation for Kansas City. He played a large number of snaps opposite Frank Clark, but he didn’t start a single game during the entire 2020-21 calendar year.
When it’s all said and done, Okafor will have appeared in 24 of 38 possible games for the Chiefs, starting in a total of nine games. In that span, Okafor recorded 53 tackles, seven tackles for loss and eight sacks.