Chiefs Keep Justin Houston on $101 Million Deal
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston has proven to be one of the best pure pass rushers in the NFL. Heading into the 2015 NFL season, he’ll finally be paid like one.
Per reports, the Chiefs and Houston have finally come to terms on a massive six-year, $101 million contract that will keep the 26-year old Houston in red and white through his age-31 season.
Houston’s deal includes a staggering $52.5 million in guaranteed cash, as well as a $20.5 million signing bonus. It’s a huge contract, but one the Chiefs had to deliver to keep one of the league’s top edge rushers.
Houston has certainly earned this payday, as he recorded a career high 22 sacks in 2014 and has now notched at least 10 sacks in each of the past three seasons. At just 26, Houston is already in the upper echelon of NFL pass rushers and is arguably only getting better. This new deal locks Houston up well through his prime and takes care of one side of Kansas City’s defense for the next six years.
Now that the Chiefs no longer have to worry about Houston, they can focus on taking things to the next level in 2015. On paper, with Houston in tow, this is a very scary defensive unit. Houston brings 10+ sacks to the table, while Tamba Hali and Dee Ford complete a nasty pass rushing rotation that could render opposing quarterbacks useless on a regular basis.
The rest of KC’s defense isn’t too shabby, either, as Dontari Poe locks down the middle of the Chiefs’ base 3-4 defense and the pass defense continues to improve. Stud safety Eric Berry, who missed 2014 as he battled cancer, could also be back and if former Raiders safety Tyvon Branch can continue playing at a high level, Kansas City could suddenly have one of the best safety tandems in all of football.
That’s saying a lot, since KC was already pretty good against the pass in 2014. The Chiefs allowed zero 300+ yard passers in any game in 2014 and as a collective unit only gave up 17.6 points per game.
Houston returns to a very well built defense that really only has to worry about the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. Even Denver isn’t as scary as they used to be, as they’ve undergone a head coaching change and should also be scaling their offense back considerably. If the Chiefs can finally get past the Broncos, they could be back in the playoffs and ready to compete for a trip to the Super Bowl.
The oddsmakers are still hesitant to give Andy Reid’s bunch that much respect, as they’ll enter 2015 with 40/1 odds to win it all. That’s just middle of the pack, but with a stud like Houston back in line to help a rising defense, the sky could be the limit for these Chiefs. That is, of course, if Alex Smith and the offense can take things to the next level, as well.
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