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Chiefs may face franchise-tag dilemma with Alex Smith, Justin Houston

Smith AP

Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston wants a new contract.  So does quarterback Alex Smith.  Progress is slow to nonexistent on both fronts, which could be leading to a tough decision for the franchise after the season.

If neither is signed, the franchise tag could be used on only one, allowing the other to hit the market.  If one is signed, the other one could be tagged.

The Chiefs presumably hope to persuade Smith to accept a contract similar to the one signed by the man who supplanted him in San Francisco.  But if Smith had any interest in inking a Kaepernick-style team-friendly deal, Smith would have by now.

Smith has said he’ll pull the plug on contract talks if they become a distraction; for Houston, the talks aren’t anywhere close to the point at which they could even become a distraction.  After the season, if neither is signed, the distraction will be deciding which guy stays under the franchise tag and which guy hits the market.

It would be several million dollars cheaper to use the tag on Houston, but Smith plays a far more important position.  Then again, coach Andy Reid may decide that Aaron Murray is ready to become Reid’s next quarterback success story, opting to pay him $510,000 for 2015 in lieu of paying Smith roughly 34 times that amount under the tag.

Reid also may decide that Dee Ford is ready to step in and step up and join Tamba Hali as the team’s top two pass rushers.  Which means that the choice between Smith and Houston could end up becoming a “none of the above” proposition.

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17 Responses to “Chiefs may face franchise-tag dilemma with Alex Smith, Justin Houston”
  1. scothawk says: Aug 5, 2014 8:20 AM

    The only dilemma about using the words Alex Smith and Franchise Tag in a headline, is the worry about whether to wait for April 1 for maximum impact or not.

  2. chuckxx says: Aug 5, 2014 8:21 AM

    Keep Houston. Offer Smith a decent deal and if he walks then so be it.

  3. SparkyGump says: Aug 5, 2014 8:31 AM

    Alex Smith doesn’t deserve to be trapped on a Andy Reid coached team. Trade him to the Texans where at least he’ll have a chance at a future.

  4. shayeezy says: Aug 5, 2014 8:52 AM

    if you think there is a snowball’s chance in hell of the chiefs signing neither of these players.. well, you might be mike florio.

  5. philswfc08 says: Aug 5, 2014 9:15 AM

    they’d be just as well off with Aaron Murray starting on his rookie salary as paying Alex Smith franchise QB money (maybe better off).

  6. asimonetti88 says: Aug 5, 2014 9:57 AM

    Smith is easily replaceable, tag Houston.

  7. slick50ks says: Aug 5, 2014 10:40 AM

    Houston is priority one.

  8. joetoronto says: Aug 5, 2014 11:25 AM

    But I thought Smith was a great QB, what happened, Chiefs fans?

    SMH.

  9. blogatron2000 says: Aug 5, 2014 11:27 AM

    I think you’re jumping the gun a bit with this one.

    Wouldn’t it be better to wait until some games are actually played to find out what Ford and Murray can do before launching into speculation about who they’re going to replace and when? SMH

  10. babygaga19 says: Aug 5, 2014 11:40 AM

    Alex Smith is garbage. Chiefs thinking of tagging him? Seriously?

  11. mauicat1 says: Aug 5, 2014 11:41 AM

    Neither of these guys are going anywhere. For those out there that think that Smith is not a franchise guy, just look at his stats the last three years. The numbers speak for themselves. As for Houston, Dorsey is not gonna’ let the best pass rusher on the team walk away. Both Smith and Houston will get deals done before the season starts. Reid and Dorsey do not want any preventable turmoil to louse up what will surely be a tough season.

  12. ashevillechief says: Aug 5, 2014 1:30 PM

    Both will get signed. If anyone is key go, it’s Tamba Hali. But I see a restructure there.

  13. jjackwagon says: Aug 5, 2014 2:49 PM

    @ Trollonto

    You also thought that McCown, McGloin, Russell, Pryor, Palmer, & Gradkowski were great QB’s.

  14. babygaga19 says: Aug 5, 2014 3:38 PM

    Jesus, who thought that?

  15. afcdomination says: Aug 5, 2014 7:15 PM

    smith loves reid and KC, if he plays well they will pay him, if he doesn’t they won’t. Houston likely sees the tag, smith won’t hold them hostage, as if he plays to an 18 mil dollar level, they will give it to him. no tag threat needed for smith, tag will be used on Houston

  16. afcdomination says: Aug 5, 2014 7:16 PM

    smith is garbage yet he had the best playoff performance of any qb last year. ok then

  17. Mick LeGrande says: Aug 6, 2014 4:17 PM

    Alex Smith had his best season as a pro in Andy Reid’s offense last year, genuinely likes KC and at age 31, won’t be looking to move to another city in order to make a few extra bucks. He’ll be a Chief and it’ll likely be a minimum of a 3 year, $54 million dollar deal.

    Houston will either receive a big contract when the league year opens next March or he’ll be Franchised. Either way, there’s no chance that neither will be a Chiefs in 2015, barring career ending injuries.

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