Chiefs GM John Dorsey told reporters on Monday that they plan to continue negotiating a long-term deal with OLB Justin Houston, who is in the final year of his rookie contract.
“It’s one step at a time,” Dorsey said, per Terez A. Paylor.
- Paylor mentions that Kansas City could even use the tag on him again in 2016 if contract talks haven’t progressed by that point.
Recent reports have mentioned that contract talks between the two parties haven’t been going anywhere, so the franchise tag seems like a very plausible option for the Chiefs.
Last year, the franchise tag for defensive ends was $13.116 million. It will likely increase by next year, but probably not enough to dissuade them from using the designation on their best free agent. If they were to use the tag again in 2016, the Chiefs would have to pay him an additional 20 percent on top of the tag price.
Houston, 25, is obviously in line for a sizable contract after producing back-to-back seasons with at least 10 sacks, despite the fact that he’s set to make just $645,000 for the 2014 season.
The Chiefs got an absolute steal when they drafted him at No. 70 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Outside linebackers have fared well on the open market in recent years, so I’m sure Houston could secure a similar contract to that of Browns OLB Paul Kruger who signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed last year.
Kansas City took Auburn OLB Dee Ford in the first-round of this year’s draft, which was probably a smart move given that Houston is clearly targeting a huge contract.
Last year, Houston totaled 44 tackles, 11 sacks, a forced fumble and two recoveries over the course of just 11 games.