Last year was the first full year back with a healthy Justin Houston. In 2014, Justin Houston was coming off one of his best statistical seasons he has ever had. Twenty-two sacks later, and wrecking offensive backfields helped him earn a multi-millionaire contract earning him a 6year-101 million dollar contract extension, with 52.5 million in guaranteed money. That helped him earn the nod at highest paid linebacker during that timeframe.
Houston then went on to miss the whole 2015-2016 season with an ACL injury. This past year was his first year back at full health. His stats this past year were 59 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 5 defended passes and one fumble recovery. Do you think those stats guarantee him a roster spot? He is guaranteed a 20.5+million dollar cap casualty this season. That is a lot of money guaranteed for a player who did not have an elite season.
Will the Chiefs cut Houston during this off-season? No. That would be dumb of them to do at this point in time after we have already traded away Marcus Peters, released Parker, Johnson, and Hali. However, could the 2nd round draft pick Breeland Speaks be the replacement of Justin Houston. Andy Reid has stated that Speaks will play OLB and move to DE during third down situations.
What does this mean for other parts of the defense including last years project in Kpassagnon. Maybe this means Brett Veach is preparing for the future of having both Speaks, and Kpassagnon on opposite sides wrecking opposing quarterbacks for the coming years. Houston is due another 21.5 million next year but the Chiefs could save 15 million if Houston is cut by the June first deadline.
I don’t think we should cut Houston but I do think we should strongly consider it if Houston does not want to restructure his contract to help this team build for the future years. Maybe we do the same thing with him that we did with Alex Smith. We could cut him or maybe trade him for another significant younger player. If Speaks and Kpassagnon can prove that they are worthy of starting roles then I do believe that we will have to let Houston walk because of the salary he is earning.
As we have seen this off-season. The NFL is a business and anyone can be moved for the right price or for what is best for the team moving forward. Without elite production, in the coming season, I sadly think we will see the last of Justin Houston in a Chiefs uniform this year.
Fear Nothing, Attack Everything