Report: Justin Houston And Kansas City Chiefs Still ‘Worlds Apart’ In Contract Talks


Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (50) during the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Per Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin, Justin Houston and the Kansas City Chiefs are still “worlds apart” in contract negotiations.

Getlin adds:

"If the Chiefs can’t get a long-term deal done with Houston by the end of the year, they are going to have to make a decision: place the franchise tag on him and pay somewhere between $12.9 million and $15.5 million – fully guaranteed – for one year of service, or allow him to enter free agency."

The perennial Pro Bowler’s 10 sacks—three stemming from last Sunday’s trouncing of the St. Louis Rams—currently lead the NFL.

Grading said game, Roland Bardon of Pro Football Focus (PFF) notes:

"This was a dominant performance by Houston, at times taking over the game all by himself. He recorded four sacks to go with six hurries on 22 pass-rushing snaps, which translates to an insane Pass Rush Productivity of 38.6. Just for good measure, he added four defensive stops in the run game. He now has 11 sacks and 38 total pressures this year."

Houston’s 26 quarterback hurries also headline the league.

Among 3-4 outside linebackers, PFF ranks him No. 5 in coverage, No. 3 in run defense and No. 2 in (fewest) penalties.

This year, the defense has managed to not only survive but thrive in the absence of Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry. (Make no mistake, though, there’s a reason why PFF ranked them No. 3 [Johnson] and No. 2 [Berry] at their respective positions last year. They’re not your everyday starters.)

When Houston suffered a dislocated elbow last season? The defense collapsed like a Jenga tower in front of the Hulk.

The pass rush was next to nonexistent, and Kendrick Lewis and Quintin Demps repeatedly allowed wideouts to blow by the last line of defense.

Getlin writes:

"Had the Chiefs signed Houston prior to the season – when his highest single-season sack total was 11 – they almost assuredly would have gotten him at a bargain compared to what it’s going to cost them now. The Texans paid Watt $30.8 million (fully guaranteed) at signing in exchange for an additional six-year commitment from their star defensive end while the Rams paid Quinn $15.7 million (fully guaranteed) at signing in exchange for an additional four-year commitment."

I (originally) thought there was little doubt Kansas City would lock Houston up prior to the regular season.

He’s a 25-year-old wrecking ball who just entered the prime of his career. Furthermore, outside of last year’s five-game stretch, he has played in every game of his professional career.

Regardless, even though he might be rocking royal blue for the next couple of days, rest assured that Houston will be donning red and gold next season.

Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).