The day Kansas City Chiefs fans were praying would come, finally arrived, Wednesday afternoon. Linebacker Justin Houston, the 2014 NFL sack-leader (22.0), signed a six-year deal worth a cool $101 million, according to sources and first reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortenson.
The deal, which was announced by the team, but did not include specific financial terms, is expected to be the largest contract ever signed by a linebacker and is the single largest contract a Kansas City Chiefs player has ever been awarded.
Houston is the focal-point of a formidable Chiefs front seven, and his 22.0 sacks a season ago came without fellow LB Derrick Johnson for the majority of the season after suffering a torn achilles.
With Houston locked in, the Chiefs defense can move forward with its anchor and begin to build around their Pro-Bowler.
Johnson is set to return healthy and ready to help the defense remain as one of the league’s best in 2015.
Houston, through his first three seasons, has earned about $3 million from his rookie contract. The low dollar amount is directly related to his fall in the draft–where he was projected as a high first rounder–because of a failed drug test, and Houston going to the Chiefs in the third round.
In his first three seasons, Houston has amassed 200 tackles, 48 1/2 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles.
Those types of numbers warrant a max contract and one which locks him up for years to come and potentially allows him to finish his career in KC.
Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey told the media patience, in this situation and negotiation with Houston, was the most important aspect to resigning an important piece to what is expected to be a playoff team.
Houston himself stated that the Chiefs asked him to remain patient throughout this process and that a deal would get done.
According to sources, as of March the two sides were nowhere close in reaching a deal, which led to Houston skipping all conditioning and voluntary training sessions with the team during the offseason. Houston was said to be skipping training camp if a deal was not struck before the Wednesday deadline.
Moving forward, both sides are now committed to one another and the Chiefs can enter training camp on a positive note and without a cloud hanging overhead.
August 15th marks the first of four preseason games for Kansas City when they take on the Arizona Cardinals.
August 21st will bring the Chiefs back to Arrowhead Stadium for a preseason matchup against NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. For tickets to both preseason and regular season games, visit ticketsforless.com for the best deals on ticket packages for all home and away games.