My Chief Concerns: What Is Tamba Hali Worth?


All week I have heard Chiefs fans stating something akin to this “The Kansas City Chiefs would be crazy not to give Tamba Hali whatever he wants”.  I know that I may be alone on this point, but I disagree.  I spoke briefly of this a couple of days ago in a comment on one of Pat’s posts and I believe it is worth mentioning once more.

First, let me state that I love Tamba Hali.  He is my favorite Kansas City Chiefs player.  His history coupled with his work ethic and character make him the best person in all of the NFL.  I truly mean that.  He is a monster on the field and an exemplary teammate off of it.

He is absolutely great at what he does, he is very good, but is he the best?  Is he the best OLB in a 3-4 scheme?   Is he better than Demarcus Ware (20 sacks in one season), James Harrison (Defensive Player of the year 2009), Elvis Dumerville (10.75 sacks per season), Clay Matthews (13.5 sacks in 2010, and 10 sacks in 2009), or Terrell Suggs (averages 8.5 sacks per year).   Is he worth a hefty contract in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 million a year? Maybe he is and maybe he is not.

More after the jump…

I think it would be a shame to not re-sign Tamba Hali, but I also think it would be a mistake to pay him 10 to 15 million a year when you consider the following: Prior to this year, Tamba has never had more than 8.5 sacks.  Prior to this year, he averaged 6.75 sacks a year.  He had just three (3) sacks in one year.  Moreover, he is a “newby” in his OLB position, and can be a liability in pass coverage (Harrison, Dumerville, Matthews and Suggs are better in pass coverage).

Tamba Hali did have 14.5 sacks this year and that is an amazing feat.  But it also came in a contract year.  How many times have you seen a player kick major butt in his contract year only to fall short the next year and years after (Larry Johnson, Hugh Douglas, Albert Haynesworth, Karlos Dansby, Javon Walker, Desmond Howard, Dale Carter, David Boston, etc.)?

Those kinds of contracts can hamstring a franchise.  You have to be wary of the big contract.  Proceed with caution.  Am I wrong?