Let’s take a second and talk about each player individually for a moment starting with Derrick Johnson. If given the choice of only bringing one of these great Chiefs back next season my vote would be for DJ. I simply believe he is still playing at a higher level than Hali is at this point in their careers. However, if DJ wants one last payday before he rides off into the sunset I can see KC letting him go.
Especially if they are high on some of their young guys like Ramik Wilson, DJ Alexander, and Justin March (who outperformed both of the other two rookies before getting injured). You can also make a case that the inside linebacker position is becoming less and less important in today’s NFL given the amount of time teams spend in the sub package.
Then there is Tamba Hali. I LOVE Tamba Hali the person. His work ethic, character, and quiet workmanlike demeanor are simply beyond reproach. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s a 32 year old pass rusher who has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons to the extent that he hasn’t been productive in the second half of the season. Including KC’s two playoff games Hali failed to record a sack in his final seven games of the 2015 season and that was with KC giving him practice time during the week off all season to try and keep him fresh.
Next: More on Tamba