Justin Houston situation is about to get very interesting

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The Chiefs finally did what has been expected for months — they’ve applied the franchise tag to linebacker Justin Houston. And as explained over the weekend (when most of you weren’t devoting non-work time to non-work reading of the Internet), it’s much closer to the start of the process than the end of it.

The Chiefs opted for the non-exclusive version of the tag. On one hand, it’s cheaper than the exclusive level of the tag. On the other hand, it allows another team to sign Houston to an offer sheet that, if not matched by the Chiefs, would result in Houston changing hands for a pair of first-round picks.

Per a league source, Houston intends to aggressively pursue an offer sheet from another team, targeting teams that would be giving up a low first-round pick in 2015 and, most likely, a low first-round pick in 2016. Houston also intends to continue to pursue an offer sheet after the draft, when the compensation necessarily will become a first-round pick in 2016 and 2017.

Houston, we’re told, is seriously considering staying away from the Chiefs until the Week 10 deadline for signing the franchise tender. If nothing materializes by then, Houston would sign the tender, finish the season, and hit the market in 2016 — unless the Chiefs plan to tender him again, at a 20-percent raise over the 2015 franchise tender.

That’s a stark change from Houston’s in-season plan to sign the tender right away, gladly accepting the life-transforming $13 million or so for one year of play. That 22-sack season may have been a factor in Houston’s change of plans.

Finally, Houston will consult with the NFLPA to explore the possibility of filing a grievance seeking the defensive end franchise tender, which will be higher than the linebacker tender. Seven years ago, Ravens and Terrell Suggs engaged in a similar fight, with the two sides agreeing to essentially split the difference. For Houston, it could be a bit more challenging because he actually does play a considerable amount of linebacker, dropping into coverage in some passing situations.

Which makes him more versatile, makes his 22 sacks more impressive, and potentially makes him a lot more attractive to a team with a desperate coach and/or G.M. who may not be around to use the future draft picks that would be sacrificed to get Houston now.

61 responses to “Justin Houston situation is about to get very interesting

  1. What teams can affors 2 first rounders and a contract that the Chiefs can’t match? Honestly can’t think of one that would be worth it. 2 first rounders is too high a price now.

  2. These first round picks should be pro rated (or whatever one calls it).

    So Tennessee would be stupid to sign Houston while New England would be geniuses.

    It is a ‘ rich get richer’ situation.

    Life was never meant to be fair is always the answer…

  3. Two first round picks for him, plus his expensive salary?
    No way.

    I wouldn’t do that for JJ Watt.

    The only way I give up two first round picks is for a stud QB.
    Maybe Aaron Rogers or Andrew Luck. (Brady and Brees are too old)

  4. Go figure, the Chiefs get rid of the spygaters who were riding off of Brady’s success and the Chiefs begin to turn it around.

    Belicheat sub .40% win/loss record without Brady.

  5. Funny thing and probably not for JH, is that he gets little pub outside of KC. Many people may not be aware he darn near had the sack record. Chiefs did the right thing here. Let’s see what 2015 brings.

  6. Seems like the smarter move would be simply to sign him to a deal in principal this season and just wait out the chiefs.

    He’d know what was waiting for him at the end of the year, and provided he doesn’t have a career ending injury in 6 games, would have it, plus the team wouldn’t give up a thing in draft picks to lure him away.

  7. Im ok with the colts giving two first round picks for this guy. I doubt those two players would equal houstons production. He is so damn versatile. We have other needs, but what an upgrade at linebacker. Mathis isnt getting younger, freeman was banged up, jackson is average, and walden/werner are inconsistent.

  8. The NFLPA never should have allowed non-exclusive franchise tenders in the last CBA. Either pay the full franchise tag amount for one year or let the guy walk. Houston will never trust this organization again, probably skip the first half of the season and then walk. This is all counter productive.

  9. Step 1: Release Hawk & Jones
    Step 2: Move Clay Matthews inside on a more permanent basis
    Step 3: Sign Houston and give up pick #30 this year and next year’s 1st rounder
    Step 4: Continue with Peppers/Perry/Neal rotation at Elephant end
    Step 5: Championship

    Sure, Ted would probably retire after suffering a mild heart attack due to trading away draft picks, but if no team in the bottom 1/3rd of the 1st round with cap space and a need at pass rusher signs him to an offer sheet, then this reeks of collusion.

  10. Sigh,

    The Franchise tag. Play hardball Houston that’s your only option. Your play has earned you a monster contract, your CBA is amongst the worse in all pro sports.
    A team should not be allowed to control a player’s destiny after said player has played out his contact. I don’t know anywhere in the sports world or real world that works like that.

  11. I don’t think Belichick would ever give up two first round picks for any player but the possibilities of this guy on a line with Wilfork and the LBs the Pats have backing the line up makes me salivate.

  12. This is gonna get real interesting. I agree with above, the price is too steep for a team to pay him that kind of coin AND lose 2 1st rd draft picks. Makes no sense.

  13. I think there might have been too big of a gap between what Houston wanted and what the Chiefs were willing to offer. By going this route, they can let the market determine his value and then decide if they want to match it. If some team wants to over pay him then so be it, it is not worth destroying your cap situation for one player. Besides if some other team signs him (even a team at the bottom of the first round), the two first rounders will still be better compensation then what they would get if he walks in free agency.

  14. two first round picks are nothing. as a Houston fan, I would give up Clowney and whoever we pick this year to get a guy like this. Most first rounders do not become top 10 at their position ever, and certainly not right away.

  15. Some of u guys are missing the huge contract and cap space issues. He wants jj watt money and only has 1 yr of watt production and 3 yrs of mediocre production. Plus he already has strike 1 on the personal conduct policy (marijuana prior to the draft) so he has risks. Then after all that u still have to give up 2 1st rounders. I’m sorry I don’t see him going anywhere. I don’t see him sitting either cause his chances for major injury goes way up and some teams will get scared that he may be to much of a diva to warrant such a huge investment.

  16. The team best positioned to pay his salary and picks would likely be the Colts. likely going to be low 1st round picks plus they have 40 million in cap space. One of the worst pass rushing teams without the blitz in 2014 and well, we saw what NE did to them in the running game. Houston is a huge upgrade in both aspects.

  17. Mr. Houston, as a Chiefs Fan, we would Love to have you as a Chief for life. We drafted you when there were character concerns.

    If you don’t want to be a Chief, then Please get the hell out of town and find a new team.

  18. Anyone saying he will sit until week 10 is foolish. After playing on a rookie deal, he’ll take that 13 mil and play the entire season.

  19. If he wants to sit, I’d let him sit and rescind the franchise tag before week 9. What kind of idiot wouldn’t immediately sign a guaranteed contact of $13+ million for one year, blah blah longterm contract. Play the franchise game like Anthony spencer did and make nearly 30 million guaranteed in two years.

  20. Teams are willing to give up a couple first rounders for the right to move up a few spots to pick an unproven rookie QB with a maniacal ego, yet wouldn’t gie up a couple first rounders for a proven guy who nearly set the record for sacks? Ok then.

  21. “These first round picks should be pro rated (or whatever one calls it).”

    Prorated? What? How do you prorate a draft pick? If a team signs him, KC gets that team’s first rounder for the next two seasons. Prorated means adjusted due to games played, meaning his salary will be prorated if he sits out the first ten weeks next year. He won’t get the full value of the franchise tag in that scenario. He will get a salary prorated to the number of games he plays.

  22. Houston wouldn’t necessarily cost a team two 1rst rnd picks. If they couldn’t agree on a long team deal and it looks like he’ll hold out until wk 10, the Chiefs could trade him to a team willing to pay what Houston’s looking for on a long term deal. The compensation could be anything the teams agree to. The other team would have to July 15th to sign him long term. The Pats franchised Cassell, then traded him and Vrabel for a high 2nd rnd pk.

  23. I agree with the comment about the relative worth of the pick compensation. It might be fairer to assign a weight to the picks. So in this case if another team signs him they have to compensate the Chiefs with a pick package equal to a set value. That way the patriots signing someone like this versus the Bucs for example would have the same value. The way the current system is if one of the consistently better teams (Pats for example) signs this they’re giving up what amounts to almost a second round pick. Isn’t there a formula teams use to determine trade values of draft picks. Like a top 10 first round pick is worth a 20 – 30 first rounder and 2 second rounders. Might make this process a little more fair.

  24. If memory serves me right, KC and an interested team could arrange for a trade out of this. Maybe KC gets a low 1st or a 2nd rounder and then the other team signs him for the same deal they otherwise would, but at a lower draft pick cost. The two 1st rounders help set a max trade market, and of course if KC isn’t really interested in keeping Houston for the contract he wants it would likely be very happy to get a major asset out of this.

  25. Has the higher offer/two firsts trade clause ever been enacted before? Seems too much for basicallyt any player in the league.

  26. This guy gets most of his sacks in garbage time.

    And judging by your teams performance at Arrowhead, garbage time was the entire 60 minutes.

  27. He turned out to be everything Orakpo was slated to be and more.

    Don’t be surprised if the Redskins make a play for him when the compensation drops to one first rounder.

  28. I would think Washington would be the only team foolish enough to go for a deal like that! After that RGIII debacle, I don’t even think they’d do it.

  29. It’s important to remember that, if you’re team is going to pick up Houston, you had better have someone on the other side of the line capable of drawing constant double teams (Tamba Hali) in order to free Houston up.

    Don’t get me wrong, Houston is a great player BUT he doesn’t get 22 sacks with Hali being on the other end of the line.

    Two first rounders, a monster salary cap hit and the need for an equally capable OLB\DE? I don’t see an offer sheet coming that the Chiefs won’t match.

  30. Funny thing and probably not for JH, is that he gets little pub outside of KC. Many people may not be aware he darn near had the sack record. Chiefs did the right thing here. Let’s see what 2015 brings.
    ————————————————
    I’d say it’s the opposite… he may not have been known well coming out of college, but when you get 22 sacks in one season, you can bet all teams, and most NFL fans, know this kid.

    I know I’ve been paying attention to his game. And, I’m from South Alaska… which supposedly means I’ve only been a fan since 2012.

  31. granadafan says:
    Mar 2, 2015 12:54 PM
    Teams are willing to give up a couple first rounders for the right to move up a few spots to pick an unproven rookie QB with a maniacal ego, yet wouldn’t gie up a couple first rounders for a proven guy who nearly set the record for sacks? Ok then.
    —————————————————
    Yes, because QB is the most important SINGLE position on the field. Do you think Denver could make it to the Super Bowl with Von Miller and no Peyton Manning? How about where the Patriots would be without Tom Brady? The Packers have Clay Mathews but no Aaron Rodgers? The Colts without Andrew Luck? Ok then.

  32. This is why it continuously gets harder and harder to remain a Chiefs fan. KC gets a decent player, who has a great year, then said player bolts from Kansas City. I’d love to see KC at least MAKE a Super Bowl before I die (heck, at this point win a stinking playoff game) but unless management is willing to open up the purse strings a bit, this will never happen. I’m not saying you blindly overpay Houston for one good season, but losing him will sting (because yes, he will go) and we will be in year 22 of “rebuilding”.

  33. I would also like to note that I like the Chiefs and think Houston is a very good LB/DE. But 4 of his 22 sacks came in the last game of the season against a majorly banged up Chargers offensive line. He will always be a great talent, but think of all the players that sign huge long term contracts and then oddly their production slows down. Why? They already got their big payday, so they start working a little bit less, then a little less, then stop watching as much film, and before you know it, you’re paying huge money to a guy who’s only good, not great, and his cap hit is keeping you from signing other players. Mario Williams is a prime example. He’s still good, but he’s not living up to his 100 million dollar contract. Dedicating that kind of money to one guy is dangerous, so it had better be to someone who plays a premier position like a QB.

  34. codiablo says:
    Mar 2, 2015 1:45 PM
    If houston is worth 2 1sts, then peterson is worth 2 1sts + 2 3rds + 2 5ths

    ————————————-
    Oh yes, a 30 year old RB that just spent the entire season suspended for child abuse while RB’s salaries have been on a major decline is worth more than a premier pass rusher in a passing league. Do you think before you type?

  35. As a Colts fan, I would take a chance and sign him and take on the salary. #1) you don’t have to pay the unproven/cross your fingers choices of Grigson. #2) He is a proven talent at a position the Colts need. I mean who would you rather have Houston or TRich and Woerner? (I know it wouldn’t be those guys but those are what we got when Grigson didn’t have a no brainer 1st round pick. The only way this backfires is if Luck gets hurt and we don’t make the playoffs.

  36. swmocardsfan says:
    Mar 2, 2015 2:25 PM
    This is why it continuously gets harder and harder to remain a Chiefs fan. KC gets a decent player, who has a great year, then said player bolts from Kansas City. I’d love to see KC at least MAKE a Super Bowl before I die (heck, at this point win a stinking playoff game) but unless management is willing to open up the purse strings a bit, this will never happen. I’m not saying you blindly overpay Houston for one good season, but losing him will sting (because yes, he will go) and we will be in year 22 of “rebuilding”.
    ————————————————-
    Overpaying Bowe is a prime example of why you franchise Houston and make him prove it another year before paying him big money. KC has cap issues right now for doing the wrong thing and overpaying players. I like what they did. Worst case scenario is they get a couple first round picks, allowing them to draft some offensive lineman and wide receivers, while freeing up more cap space to sign some free agents… Or is that the worse case scenario? May be the best thing. I like Houston, but you can’t overpay on two decent years and one really good one unless the rest of your roster is already golden. Even then, it’s risky for your future.

  37. Wow! Houston really hates the Chiefs! Time to bring in Vermeil and his tears so KC can show Houston how much he is loved. Yep, that will work!

  38. If a team bites on this, the Chiefs will be the big winners. The Franchise tag they assigned to Houston is a lot cheaper than the $15 – $16 million per year that Houston is demanding and if a team grabs him up the Chiefs will get two #1 picks and dump $13 million for the Franchise tag off their cap.

  39. Chiefs are classic for wasting First Round picks (including the #1 overall pick in Eric Fischer).

    I am really depressed the CHEAPS would play Alex Smith, who hasn’t pee’d a drop – but play hard ball with Justin Houston.

  40. codiablo says:
    Mar 2, 2015 1:45 PM
    If houston is worth 2 1sts, then peterson is worth 2 1sts + 2 3rds + 2 5ths

    ————————————-
    Oh yes, a 30 year old RB that just spent the entire season suspended for child abuse while RB’s salaries have been on a major decline is worth more than a premier pass rusher in a passing league. Do you think before you type?

    ——–
    Um, do you know the definition of facetious? You can type, but at what a grade school level.

    Also, Emmet Smith retired at 35 and probably could have played longer – Peterson is a better player than Smith (no one said a better man – you idiots need to check yourself – Lawrence Taylor and Charles Haley are in the HOF – it’s not about being the better person).

  41. Wow! Chiefs really giving Houston the tomahawk in the back act. What’s a guy have to do to earn his pay around here? Guess KC is saving their bank so they can give some more to Smith and Bowe.

  42. Why dont the CHEAPS just trade Houston now and get rid of the circus distraction. You know, trade him like they traded Jarred Allen and Gonzo in their prime. It’s the Chiefs Way!

  43. I tried finding if anyone has been signed by another team, causing the team to forfeit the 2 picks. Looks like 1998 may have been the last time it happened. 2 first round picks is too expensive, considering the teams picking later in the draft, with less valuable picks, probably don’t have enough cap space to sign the guy anyway. Losing two straight first round picks could sabotage a team for years, not getting the cheap rookie contract production out of a guy.

  44. codiablo says:
    Mar 2, 2015 1:45 PM
    If houston is worth 2 1sts, then peterson is worth 2 1sts + 2 3rds + 2 5ths

    Ummmm no. Peterson is 30+ years old at a position that doesn’t usually let players be productive for long after 30. Peterson has already had ACL/MCL tear. Justin Houston is a 25 year old OLB who can very effectively drop back into coverage when needed & it’s a good amount and still get 22 sacks and the year after get 20.5. Sorry not even close I will take Houston and happily pay him 13 million/year versus Peterson and his 15 million/year. Think about it. He gets as many sacks as JJ Watt but Watt NEVER drops back in coverage. NEVER. He is always trying to sack QB or tackle RB. Justin plays both. Pass rush and coverage. Does he have the 2nd best OLB on the other side. I think so. I think Tamba Hali is probably the 2nd best OLB next to Houston if not he is definitely close but Houston is still the man. You think they actually double team Hali and leave Houston one on one & that’s why he gets 20+ sacks? Pshhh yeah right. Tamba helps but Houston is the best at his position no question asked

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