The Chiefs and Saints have agreed to a trade that will send veteran guard Ben Grubbs to Kansas City in exchange for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
Grubbs, who had a $9.6MM cap hit for the Saints in 2015, had long been viewed as a potential cap casualty, with Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reporting in February that the team would likely let him go. Trading Grubbs will have the same effect on New Orleans’ cap as releasing him would’ve — he’ll count for $6MM in dead money, creating $3.6MM in cap savings. However, by finding a taker, the team will at least get a mid-round pick in return for its two-time Pro Bowler.
Grubbs becomes the latest victim of a cap crunch in New Orleans, with today’s deal coming on the heels of the departures of players like Jimmy Graham (traded) and Curtis Lofton (released). Still, the team now appears likely to keep Jahri Evans, since hanging on to one high-priced guard is more palatable than having both on the roster. Assuming he remains in New Orleans, Evans will play next to newly-acquired center Max Unger next season.
As for the Chiefs, they don’t have a ton of cap flexibility, so it’s possible they’ll end up reworking Grubbs’ contract to accommodate him, notes Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap (via Twitter). They won’t have to take on Grubbs’ dead prorated bonus money when they acquire him, so his cap hit in Kansas City would be just $6.6MM ($6.5MM base salary; $100K workout bonus) for the coming season, assuming the deal is untouched. The Auburn product, who turned 31 this week, also has one more year left on his contract, for a 2016 salary of $7.2MM.
Kansas City is adding a player who is just one year removed from earning a Pro Bowl spot. In 2014, Grubbs ranked in about the middle of the pack, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades, which placed him 35th out of 78 qualified guards (subscription required). The team’s addition of Grubbs comes on the heels of its contract agreement with offensive lineman Paul Fanaika.