Jan 24, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (50) and Houston Texans tackle Duane Brown (76) at Team Carter practice for the 2015 Pro Bowl at Scottsdale Community College. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Round One: Justin Houston
If all the Chiefs do during the free agency period is re-sign Justin Houston to a long-term deal, the minimum grade for this period of the offseason cannot be lower than a C. Kansas City’s defense is virtually nothing without the pass rush Houston provides off the edge. Everything the Chiefs do centers around their ability to get after the passer and force teams to limit the chances they can take down the field, thus protecting the secondary. No player in the NFL is better at getting to the quarterback and causing disruption than Houston.
Yes, Houston is going to be crazy expensive. Some reports suggest Houston is looking at a total package worth somewhere in the $90 million range with at least half of that money coming in the form of guarantees. By no means is Houston going to come cheap. But aside from the quarterback position, Justin Houston could easily be the second most important player on this team (with a strong argument coming from Jamaal Charles as the only other player worthy of that discussion).
In no scenario are the Chiefs better in 2015 without Houston. John Dorsey has to figure out a way to get Houston under contract long-term so as to avoid the franchise tag and punting Houston’s contract situation down the road by one year. Get it done now and figure out how to build around him later.
Next: Round Two