Updates from Friday, Aug. 22
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports reports bad news for Chiefs fans regarding Justin Houston:
Chiefs remain so far apart in negotiations w/Justin Houston that I'm told there is not a chance a deal gets done. He'll play out his deal— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 22, 2014
Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star has more:
#Chiefs GM John Dorsey told me a while ago that the Chiefs understand how valuable Justin Houston is...— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) August 22, 2014
If Houston has another big year and hits the free agent market, he'll easily command a Mario Williams deal - i.e. $100 million ...— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) August 22, 2014
If he plays out the year I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get franchised. Can’t let him hit the market.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) August 22, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk provides the latest on Justin Houston's contract situation:
The Chiefs rewarded Houston for honoring his current obligations by offering a new contract. Houston didn’t like it. Per a league source, a “huge” gap current exists between the team’s offer and Houston’s demands.
Updates from Thursday, July 24
Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star provided an update on Justin Houston's negotiations with the Chiefs:
Multiple sources are telling me that Justin Houston is in camp.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) July 24, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 23
Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star reports on Justin Houston's presence at Chiefs training camp:
I reported this late last night but Justin Houston has not changed his mind and is expected to report to camp today. #Chiefs— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) July 23, 2014
Justin Houston is tentatively expected to attend training camp despite his desire to hammer out a new deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. The team's veterans are scheduled to arrive on July 23.
Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star reports no formal offers have been made by the organization, but there have been some discussions. While the outside linebacker is pleased with the situation, he isn't planning an extended holdout:
I can confirm reports that as of now, #Chiefs LB Justin Houston is likely to report for camp w/o an extension, but wouldn't be thrilled.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) July 16, 2014
Paylor notes it's important for Houston to participate because he needs another accrued season before he can become eligible for free agency. Of course, the Chiefs would also have the option to use the franchise tag in that scenario:
What should Houston do this season?
The 25-year-old Georgia product has developed into a crucial piece of the Kansas City defense and one of the league's premier pass-rushing linebackers. He's tallied 21 sacks in 27 games across the last two seasons. Both resulted in Pro Bowl selections.
Alas, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk states Houston's initial contract after being selected in the third round of the 2011 draft was for just $3.4 million. The last season of that deal is slated to pay him just $1.4 million, an absolute bargain for a player of his caliber.
The report also notes that the defender has already lost nearly $100,000 for failing to show up during offseason activities. To prevent further loss, including a $30,000 daily fine if he isn't in camp, a source expects him to be there, per Florio:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Houston remains upset with the Chiefs, but common sense likely will prompt him to show up for training camp, stopping the financial bleeding at a fine of roughly $70,000 and a lost workout bonus of $25,000.
For a player earning a monster contract, those types of fines might not be enough to change his outlook. Houston isn't in that position yet. Add in the fact that he needs another season to become a potential free agent, and his leverage is limited in terms of a long-term holdout.
It's a tough situation for Houston because he certainly deserves more than his expected 2014 salary. And in an era where the only thing that really matters about a contract is the guaranteed money, he always has to worry about the risk of getting injured before entering the market.
The Chiefs could lock him up with a new deal. It's unclear whether they want to do that now or wait another year to see how things play out.