Dispelling the myths: The Chiefs and Justin Houston

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October 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (left) instructs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50, right) during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi

Reason #3:  If we sign Houston, we won’t be able to sign our other star players!

If you have picked up on anything yet, it should be that the Chiefs financial situation is actually very flexible and manageable.  Even if you are skeptical of my analysis, this offseason alone has proven it to be true.  John Dorsey made one of the tightest cap situations in the NFL work.  At some point, you may want to come to the realization that he knows what he’s doing.  If you stick purely to the numbers at the beginning of this offseason, there was no way the Chiefs should have been able to add Jeremy Maclin and Ben Grubbs…yet it happened.

So what about our other stars with contracts coming up?  Well, to this point, most fans are talking about Sean Smith, Eric Berry, Dontari Poe, and Derrick Johnson.  So let’s take a look…

Sean Smith had a great season for the Chiefs, but so far it is the anomaly in his career. If we’re losing a top player, I’d rather it be him than Justin Houston. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Smith – My initial reaction to this is “who cares?”.  Quite frankly, if Sean Smith were to walk after this season, I don’t see it as a huge loss.  Smith has only had one superb season, and it came in a year when our pass rush (Justin Houston) was absolutely phenomenal.  Folks…that is EXACTLY how Stanford Routt got paid.  He looked great when the Raiders had a strong pass rush, and fell apart without it.  Is Smith better than Routt?  Yes.  Is he so great we need to hold onto him?  Not really.  Can he be replaced?  Probably already has been.  Bye Felecia!

Eric Berry – Even if we assume that Berry returns to full strength, it is unlikely that this will take place until the middle of the season at the earliest.  Unfortunately for EB, that hurts him at the negotiating table.  As upsetting as it may be that our favorite NFL team would use cancer in contract negotiations, there simply isn’t any team in all of professional sports that wouldn’t.  The Franchise Tag might be an option for Berry and the Chiefs, and that should come in around $10 million in 2016.  It’s a lot, and a big hit on our salary cap, but if no deal can be done, this is certainly an option.

Dontari Poe – Oh, would you look at that, John Dorsey (professional NFL executive) has already accounted for our stud nose tackle in 2016.  With the 5th year option having been exercised on Poe, the Chiefs have already accounted for him next year meaning any contract extension would likely start in 2017, where we have more than enough money available.

Derrick Johnson – DJ isn’t about to break the bank folks.  In fact, we probably just saw the high end of what his contract could look like with Thomas Davis’s new deal with the Panthers.  That deal came with a $6.6 mil cap hit in it’s first season.  While that pushes the Chiefs very close to the salary cap, it still leaves some room.  And that’s if the Chiefs go the exact same route rather than moving money around over the following years.

So even if we’re looking at the worst case scenario, the Chiefs can still get all but one of their pending star free agents under contract in 2016 without even taking into consideration the various cap manipulations that can come into play.  And if this is really a choice between Justin Houston and Sean Smith…then it isn’t really a choice at all.  Again, it seems like that Dorsey fellow may have known what he was up to.