Chiefs’ Franchise Tag Of Justin Houston Is Non-Exclusive


The Kansas City Chiefs used the non-exclusive franchise tag on star OLB Justin Houston, which means there is a possibility another NFL team will sign Houston…at a price.

We told you earlier that the Chiefs tagged Houston but at the time, we only had an ESPN report to go on. We did not know which version of the tag Houston got until now.

What does this mean?

Well, if the Chiefs had given Houston the exclusive franchise tag, no other team would have been able to make the NFL’s 2014 sack leader an offer. By using the non-exclusive tag, the Chiefs have opened the door for another team to come in and make Houston an offer. If Houston accepts, he would sign an offer sheet.  Should that happen, the Chiefs would have some time to match whatever contract offer Houston received. If the Chiefs fail to match the offer, Houston would be allowed to join the new team. The catch is that any team that signs Houston away from the Chiefs would be required to surrender two first-round draft picks to Kansas City.

From Pro Football Talk:

"Per a league source, Houston intends to aggressively pursue an offer sheet from another team, targeting teams that would be giving up a low first-round pick in 2015 and, most likely, a low first-round pick in 2016. Houston also intends to continue to pursue an offer sheet after the draft, when the compensation necessarily will become a first-round pick in 2016 and 2017.Houston, we’re told, is seriously considering staying away from the Chiefs until the Week 10 deadline for signing the franchise tender. If nothing materializes by then, Houston would sign the tender, finish the season, and hit the market in 2016 — unless the Chiefs plan to tender him again, at a 20-percent raise over the 2015 franchise tender."

PFT is right. Houston doesn’t have to sign his franchise tender from the Chiefs until Week 10 of the 2015 season. That is a position the Chiefs do not want to be in.

The Chiefs released a statement today, announcing that they tagged Houston.

“Justin is a talented player and a key contributor to our defense,” Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said. “Today was the deadline to designate a franchise player, and it was in the best interest of the club to place the tag on Justin. We will continue to discuss long-term options with him and his agent. Our goal is to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We want to keep Justin in a Chiefs uniform for years to come.”

I believe the Chiefs want to keep Houston. The team still has time to come to a long term agreement with him. If I had to guess, I’d say the Chiefs are trying to keep their options open. Houston likely had very high contract demands. In fact, it is possible that after nearly breaking the NFL’s single-season sack record in 2014, Houston wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. If the Chiefs don’t think signing Houston to a monster deal presents enough value, they may be willing to see what the rest of the NFL is willing to pay for him. If Houston signs a deal the Chiefs are comfortable with, they can match and everyone can move on. If Houston signs a deal the Chiefs are not comfortable with, they can recoup some draft picks for their trouble.

What do you think, Addicts? Is there any team out there willing to surrender two first-round picks for a player that doesn’t play QB? Is Houston, talented as he is, worth the Chiefs putting themselves in deeper salary cap trouble?

KC had Houston last season and couldn’t even make the playoffs. The team has serious needs at offensive line and wide receiver.

If they lose Houston, however, KC could have serious needs at pass rusher as well.

I have a headache.