An Update On Justin Houston’s Contract Negotiations

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Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) celebrates after sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis (9) (not pictured) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Houston wants to be considered a defensive end, an in-season extension seems unlikely, and no one really knows what’s going on but they know Houston is very likely to be a Kansas City Chiefs defensive stud for a while.

That’s about the extent of what’s going on in the Justin Houston rumor mill, let’s dive into these reports a little more.

(Note: It is probably a good idea to read our update from last week about the Houston contract situation because it’ll give you a better idea of the perspective of what is going on with his negotiations. I mean, you don’t have to read it but I cannot confirm nor deny that a puppy will die somewhere in the world if you do not read it. Do you want to kill an innocent puppy? I didn’t think so.)

First, we have a video report from the Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole saying that in all likelihood the Chiefs and Houston are going to get a deal done at some point and it is going to be for a lot of money and years.

Here’s the video:

Cole essentially says that whatever internal doubt there was about giving Houston a long-term deal is now gone. John Dorsey has to weigh things like what a player will do with a huge contract and whether or not the work ethic and effort will still be there after a player lands his big pay day. Houston has apparently shown Dorsey and the rest of the Chiefs front office that Houston dropping off the face of the planet isn’t going to happen.

Now things turn to the basics, which would be money and time.

Two things need to be made clear here: Kansas City has a franchise tag to use and they are not going to give Houston J.J.-Watt money.

The most valuable 3-4 outside linebacker contract presently belongs to Green Bay Packers All-Pro Clay Matthews, a $66-million deal with $20.5 million in guarantees. Tamba Hali comes in second on this list with his $57.5 million deal and $16 million in guarantees. Aside from Hali, no other 3-4 outside linebacker comes within $25 million of Matthews in terms of total value.

The other edge pass rushers of note – aside from Watt – are Mario Williams and Robert Quinn. Williams signed a $96-million deal to go to Buffalo, but the key note there is he signed that deal as a free agent. Buffalo had to compete against the rest of the market in order to obtain his services. Houston, due to the franchise tag, is not going to be in that kind of position.

This leaves Quinn, who just signed a $57-million extension with the Rams that includes $15.6 million in guaranteed money. Quinn still has a year left on his rookie deal that may have factored in to his agreement, something the Chiefs do not have when negotiating with Houston, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

It would seem Cole’s estimate that Houston’s contract probably falls in the Clay-Matthews range is correct. Houston’s not going to land a $100-million deal because A) he’s not as good as J.J. Watt and B) he won’t be on the open market. A deal around $67-70 million would be my estimate for Houston’s contract.

Next: Salary Cap Issues