Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston still has not signed the $13.1 million nonexclusive franchise tag the Chiefs placed on him March 2.
Until Houston does — and he has until Week 10 of the regular season to do so — he is under no obligation to attend any workouts or practices. In the meantime, Houston’s agent, Joel Segal, can shop around for an offer from another team, which the Chiefs, who also have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with him, can choose to match or let Houston walk for two first-round picks from that.
So, needless to say, Houston’s contract situation remains in limbo for a bit. But that doesn’t change the organization’s thoughts on him as a player or person.
“I’ve been very consistent in saying that we not only value Justin as a football player, that we not only value Justin as a person and leader, and we want him to be a Chief for life,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said at NFL’s annual meetings this week in Arizona.
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“And the negotiating process in these type of situations, as (general manager) John (Dorsey) has said, takes some patience. You just have to have patience. It will work out.”
The chances of Houston landing an offer sheet from another team seem low; a team hasn’t signed away another team’s nonexclusive player since the Cowboys did it with Seattle’s Joey Galloway 15 years ago.
When asked if he’s concerned that Houston will land an offer sheet elsewhere, Dorsey gave his standard refrain on the topic, one that was very similar to Hunt’s.
“I’ve said in the past and I’ll say it now, I consider Justin Houston a Kansas City Chief, I don’t see him going anywhere,” Dorsey said.
And while the Chiefs could also franchise Houston next season, Hunt is optimistic that a long-term deal can get done some point.
“He knows, and his agent knows, how much we want him back,” Hunt said. “We just all have to be patient, and eventually, we’re going to get him signed to a long-term deal.”