Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston would love to leave Kansas City in free agency, but the franchise tag makes that a long shot. Which might be why Chiefs owner Clark Hunt is confident that in the end, Houston will stay where he is.
“He knows, and his agent knows, how much we want him back,” Hunt said. “We just all have to be patient, and eventually, we’re going to get him signed to a long-term deal.”
If Houston doesn’t want to play for the Chiefs, he can try to work something out with another team, although that would be hard to do because the Chiefs would have the right to match any offer, and would receive two first-round draft picks from Houston’s new team if they don’t match the offer. Houston could also sit out all of training camp and the preseason and then sign the franchise tender just before Week One and still make his full $13.1 million salary. And if Houston really doesn’t want to play for the Chiefs, he could wait until Week 10 to sign the franchise tag and play just six games while still accruing enough service to become a free agent again next year.
But Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said the team thinks things will work out with some patience, and Hunt echoed that.
“I’ve been very consistent in saying that we not only value Justin as a football player, that we not only value Justin as a person and leader, and we want him to be a Chief for life,” Hunt said. “And the negotiating process in these type of situations, as John has said, takes some patience. You just have to have patience. It will work out.”
The only question is whether Houston agrees. It takes two to sign a contract.