In February, the Chiefs applied the franchise tag to linebacker Justin Houston, who piled up 22 sacks in 2014. The two sides negotiated (unsuccessfully) not long before the tag was imposed. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, no talks have happened since then.
Owner Clark Hunt has said that the Chiefs eventually will get Houston signed to a long-term deal. They have until July 15 to do it, or they’ll have to wait until after the regular season finale to try again.
In the interim, another team can sign Houston to an offer sheet, if that team is willing to give up a pair of first-round draft picks. That’s not expected to happen before the 2015 draft; however, the window for signing Houston to an offer sheet extends beyond the 2015 draft. Which means that an offer sheet from another team accepted by Houston and not matched by the Chiefs would result in Kansas City receiving 2016 and 2017 first-round picks as compensation.
That’s precisely what the Vikings planned to do in 2008, when they eventually sent a first-round and third-round pick to the Chiefs for defensive end Jared Allen. But for that trade, the Vikings would have kept those picks, putting first-round selections in 2009 and 2010 on the line.
It’s unclear whether anyone will take that chance with Houston. Every year, plenty of coaches and General Managers sit on the hot seat. All it takes is one G.M./coach to roll the dice with draft picks they may not be there to use, anyway.