While Poe is a fan favorite and fantastic player, Howard certainly outplayed him this year, racking up 57 tackles and phenomenal 5.5 sacks. In a 3-4 scheme, often playing from nose tackle taking on double teams, 5.5 sacks is fantastic output from Howard, and his performances throughout the year merit a big contract this offseason.
However, I do not believe that Kansas City should be the team to sign Howard to such a deal. Howard is going to be looking in the range of a Dan Williams type deal of the Oakland Raiders, who got $25 million over four years, and deserves at least that amount. If he were to test the open market, he could certainly find a team willing him to pay that type him that type of money and if Kansas City are serious about bringing him back, they will have to stump up the cash.
That doesn’t seem like to much of an issue. Interior defensive lineman that can occupy two blockers are hard to come by and the Chiefs have three of them in Howard, Poe and Allen Bailey. Bailey was signed last season to a very similar contract; four years and $24 million. While he has not played to the level of Howard, has still performed well enough to warrant such a contract.
The issue then comes with the amount of cap space that John Dorsey would have to dedicate to wrapping up the defensive line. If he were to sign Howard to a four year, $25 million contract, then I would be perfectly happy with that. However, Poe’s rookie deal is set to expire next year, and this is where the issue lies. Is it worth signing Howard to a deal he deserves at the likely expense of one of the best nose tackles in the league?
Next: More on Howard