The Kansas City Chiefs are eager to sign a new contract with restricted free agent and franchised linebacker Justin Houston, but these things are never simple.
So what are the options, especially when there seems to be a little bit of bad blood between the two sides? Obviously, there’s the simple option of signing a long term deal, but right now the sums are way off for both sides. Using the franchise tag and playing one year for $13.1 million is the other likely option, which also gives Houston the possibility of missing offseason work, training camp and preseason while still collecting his full salary, but he does risk Andy Reid taking away the franchise tender, something he had done twice in the past.
Houston is a restricted free agent which means a team can sign him to an offer sheet but give up two first round picks. While Houston is one of the more productive pass rushers in the NFL with 22 sacks last season and 48.5 in his four-year career, it’s hard to believe any team will give up two first round draft picks and sign a player on a massive deal, unless he’s a franchise quarterback. Houston, for all of his merits, isn’t.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see Houston not playing at least one more season for the Chiefs, although the time is running out for the two sides to agree on a long term deal. The most unlikely scenario is Houston holding out until week 10 and then picking up his prorated portion of the salary. Weird, unlikely, but stranger things have happened.