The Chiefs announced over the weekend that they had extended Pro-Bowl quarterback Alex Smith to a 4-year, $68 million dollar deal that includes up to $45 million guaranteed. Fair or not, the Chiefs got what they wanted on their end and Smith is now happy and focused on becoming the best player he can be.
When the Chiefs entered this off season, there were several areas of concern when talking about contracts.
One, Eric Berry has a high cap number and needs an extension so perhaps the Chiefs could offer him similar money, just more drawn out over time. Didn’t happen.
Two, Alex Smith was in the final season of his deal and needed his extension and Dorsey got it done.
Three, what about Brandon Flowers and his future with the franchise? He was released during OTA’s freeing up an extra $7 million this season and more next season as well.
Four, Jamaal Charles wanted to get paid like a top five running back. With the first day of training camp coming quickly, Dorsey got Charles rewarded with a new deal and deservedly so.
Fifth and finally, Justin Houston had been holding out all off season due to the fact that he’s vastly under paid. Nothing is yet to happen.
So with three of the five things listed having a resolution, two very big ones still need to happen starting with Justin Houston. Of course he wants to be paid like an elite level outside linebacker and he has the numbers to prove why.
Houston has been one of the most productive outside linebackers in his three seasons with the Chiefs. Since they drafted him in the the third round of the 2011 NFL draft, he’s started in 27 games accounting for 21 sacks, including 11-in-11 games last season.
Pro Football Talk reported that the Chiefs offered Houston a deal early in training camp but that a league source had stated there is a “huge” gap between what was offered and Houston’s demands.
Houston already knows that his best bet was to play out the final season of his 4-year rookie deal. With him only making $1.4 million this season, he couldn’t afford all the fines to continue his hold out and display of frustration.
The only significant thing that has changed since PFT wrote that article back on August 5th is that Alex Smith now has his deal in place. This means the Chiefs have the option of placing the franchise tag on Houston after the season is finished. This not only pays Houston like a top 5 player at his position, but will also buy more time for the Chiefs to iron out the right deal.
Another factor in all of this is how Tamba Hali and Dee Ford will fit into the picture. Tamba isn’t getting any younger and has a cap number that is very high (and he’s been worth every penny) so his time with KC is becoming one of major speculation. Dee Ford’s development this season could go a long way as well, depending on how much he displays as the season goes on.
Bottom line is that, the Chiefs want Houston to stay as he is clearly a cornerstone in one of the more talented defenses in the NFL. With Smith’s new deal now in the books, the Chiefs can focus their attention on getting a Justin Houston contract done.
There is no timetable set and it could be that nothing happens until exactly one year from today. Still, Houston is next in line to get paid from the Kansas City Chiefs.