Sorry to the rest of the NFL but the Kansas City Chiefs will be retaining the services of Justin Houston, at least for this season.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Chiefs have placed the franchise tag on Houston, preventing him from becoming a free agent this March.
This move was expected. The deadline for teams to place the tag on players is at 4 p.m. ET today.
The Chiefs have a lot of important decisions to make in the coming weeks. Tagging Houston was as much about protecting the team as it was a negotiating move. Unfortunately for Houston, the Chiefs have the advantage in this situation. Houston can either sign the deal, negotiate a long-term deal with the team or sit out next season. There is very little chance that Houston would jeopardize his career by sitting out a year so he will either have to play next season or sign a deal that is to the Chiefs’ liking.
Playing under the tag is a risk for a player like Houston. He will receive a lucrative one-year deal from the Chiefs but he also forfeits any long-term security. Houston just nearly broke the NFL’s single-season sack record. Other than J.J. Watt, he is probably the most valuable defender in all of the NFL. In short, Houston’s stock will likely never be higher than it is right now.
As is always the case in situations like this, the best outcome for both the Chiefs and for Houston would be for the two sides to come to a fair, long-term agreement. The problem is, Houston has rightfully earned a monster contract and the Chiefs don’t have the salary cap space to pay it.
Chiefs GM John Dorsey needs to figure out what to do with players like Tamba Hali (big contract, declining skills), Dwayne Bowe (big contract, no production, declining skills) and Rodney Hudson (best offensive lineman, about to become a free agent).
I don’t envy Dorsey. He’s in a tough spot here.
The Chiefs can’t afford to lose Justin Houston but after the way their offensive line played last season, they can’t afford to lose Hudson either.
Something (or someone) has to give here.
What do you think, Addicts? Who is it going to be?