Kansas City Chiefs: Is Justin Houston the Latest Casualty of Revamped Defense?


With Dee Ford getting the franchise tag on Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs wasted very little time leaking the news minutes later that fellow linebacker, Justin Houston is available via trade. Most reports indicate he’ll be cut, but general manager Brett Veach has other ideas.

As I stated in my column on Monday, I’m not on board with the Kansas City Chiefs keeping Dee Ford. Yet, by placing the franchise tag on their star defender, the team has made it known for the right draft pick, they can get Ford for a relatively cheap price.

If the Chiefs can’t find a suitor for Ford, cutting or trading Houston remains their best option to cover the 2019 franchise tag they’ll absorb this season with Ford on the roster.  Houston was informed by the Chiefs that they are attempting to trade him before the start of free agency. In doing so, the Georgia native can begin the next chapter of his NFL career with another team.

Kansas City is in this spot because of the horrific contract former GM John Dorsey gave Houston that included $52.5M in guaranteed dollars. His cap hit this year was nearly $21M. By releasing or trading him in the coming days, the Chiefs will save $15M in cap space. Further, since Houston signed that contract he’s been a shadow of himself. Still a good player but, at 30, he’s no longer an elite pass rusher.


Despite those declining skills the Chiefs were willing to retain Houston, but his agent refused to budge in restructuring his contract – giving the Chiefs much-needed cap room to dive into the free agent deep end later this month. Houston of course had the final say, but it’s clear he wants out of Kansas City.

Why Houston wouldn’t want to ride the golden arm of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and his quest to deliver this franchise it’s second Super Bowl championship? I guess someone a whole lot smarter than me will have to ask Houston that question.


As of Tuesday, The Chiefs reportedly have received multiple inquiries regarding Houston and would prefer to trade him instead of cutting him outright. Though it’s a guess, you’d have to think the Atlanta Falcons would be an option with a team friendly hometown deal. However, if he just wants another cash grab, the Arizona Cardinals or Cleveland Browns would be solid fits for Houston.

In honesty, getting rid of Houston and Ford makes strong football sense, especially with Steve Spagnuolo running the show defensively. Forget the cost savings in cutting Houston, this defense needs a complete overhaul.

If you’re still on the fence with this love, taking away the impact a healthy Houston could make for the Chiefs next season, no fan should be upset when the new guy wants his own guys on the field.


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