Pardon my absence last week, Addicts. I was away, but our head coach here at AA excused me for “personal reasons.” Respectfully, I’m no Justin Houston. I plan to be hard at work with my team for the remainder of the offseason campaign. We’re gearing up for another great year as one of the best Chiefs-related sites on the interwebs (it’s a word, trust me). We’ll need all hands on deck to continue our quest to bring you some of the most insightful commentary on the Kansas City Chiefs available.
Today, I’d like to take a look at the most pressing matters on the Chiefs’ docket heading into training camp (later this month). The Chiefs appear to be navigating their offseason program smoothly, but there are still a few questions that haven’t been answered. Let’s take a look at the issues the team will face over the next several weeks.
1. Will Justin Houston show in St. Joe?
This is perhaps the biggest question Chiefs brass will have to answer in the fourth phase of their offseason program. The Chiefs budding young star at outside linebacker has held out of all team activities since the team bowed out of the postseason tournament six months ago. Houston’s most likely been a holdout for contract reasons. Kansas City selected him in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s amassed 26.5 sacks and twice been named to the Pro Bowl. Needless to say, he’s more than outplayed draft expectations.
Houston is scheduled to make just north of $1.4 million this season. It’s tough to argue that he hasn’t earned a lucrative extension. The trouble here is that quarterback Alex Smith is also scheduled to hit free agency in 2015 and is due a sizable new deal of his own. According to Over the Cap, the Chiefs have about $10 million dollars of cap space available. The release of Brandon Flowers gave them much needed breathing room and will aid them in contract negotiations. That’s the good news. The bad news is, I suspect that only one of them will receive a new deal in 2014.
If I were a betting man, I’d lay money that Smith’s a higher priority for the team to extend. Quarterback is the more important position after all. A quick glance at the depth chart at both quarterback and outside linebacker is even more telling. Sans Alex Smith, the team has Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray, and rookie Aaron Murray on their pre-camp roster. Only one of the three has ever logged a start in the NFL. Conversely at outside linebacker, the Chiefs drafted Auburn’s Dee Ford in the 2014 NFL Draft. They have a capable body there if Houston decided to carry his holdout into the regular season (which I highly doubt he’d do).
One of them will have to wait until the offseason to collect and I’d almost certain it’ll be Houston. So will he show up when the team departs for training camp roughly two weeks from now? I think there’s little concern that he won’t be in top physical condition. I’m sure Houston doesn’t think he needs training camp to prepare for the regular season. It’s possible the only benefit to him attending camp is the development of chemistry with his defensive cohorts. Though, some would argue that nothing better prepares you for the season than live action. A player of his talent could skip camp and not miss a beat, but it’s also possible it could lead to a slow start when the real bullets start flying.