An Update On Justin Houston’s Contract Negotiations

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Nov 16, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 24-20. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, Justin Houston wants to be considered a defensive end if the Chiefs choose to use the franchise tag on him. This ain’t happening.

The report comes from Albert Breer, who noted it on 610 Sports Radio this afternoon on ‘The Drive.’

Corry estimates the difference between the cap number for an outside linebacker and defensive end is minimal, but the Chiefs don’t have much room to work with in 2015. A million bucks of cap room would make a significant difference.

Jimmy Graham tried to be classified as a wide receiver last offseason in order to try to bump up his franchise tag number. He argued that he lined up and was used more as a receiver than a tight end so he should be considered a wide receiver. His appeal was denied.

Houston is going to have a difficult time arguing he’s a defensive end as the numbers of his snap percentage weigh heavily against him.

One case that could be used by Houston is that of Terrell Suggs. The Ravens and Suggs came to agreement that he would be designated as a defensive end-linebacker, a weird hybrid of the two positions. The cap numbers was a split between the linebacker and defensive end tag.

The issue here is Houston isn’t a pure pass rusher off the edge like Suggs is with Baltimore. In 2007, the season before Suggs received the defensive end-linebacker tag, Suggs went into coverage 86 times according to Pro Football Focus. He’s topped in the 100 snaps in coverage mark just once in his career.

Houston has gone into coverage 104 times already this season. In the three seasons before this one, here’s his breakdown:

2011: 163

2012: 173

2013: 113 (missed five games to injury)

The combination of time spent in pass coverage plus the lack of lining up with his hand on the ground may be enough for the Chiefs to avoid this problem.