Linebacker Tamba Hali reiterated Thursday that he would like to stay in Kansas City.
Hali, who said after the Chiefs’ season finale that he would “love to be here” in 2015, told 610 Sports Radio the same thing in an interview with Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison, adding that he would be willing to take a pay cut to do so.
“At this stage of my career, it isn’t about money,” Hali said. “The Kansas City Chiefs have taken care of me, financially. I have some good people in my corner that have positioned me to be able to live a lifestyle a lot of people won’t be able to live. So I’m not one of those guys who gets all bent out of shape over money. I love playing the game, I want to win a championship in Kansas City.
“If money is going to be a hindrance in doing that, we’ll find a way … we’ve got to get Justin (Houston) paid and get our guys, Dee Ford, ready to be playing at a higher level … but we’ve got to get Houston paid, I’m optimistic about that … that’s something we’ve got to get done.”
Houston, a pending free agent, is due a significant raise next season if he ends up being franchised, which will likely result in a cap hit of $14 million. The Chiefs could free up $9 million in cap space by releasing Hali, who is set to have a cap number of $11.9 million in 2015 on the last year of his deal.
Hali had a nice enough season — he made the Pro Bowl after recording 59 tackles and six sacks despite a balky knee — but the Chiefs might be willing to let him walk because at some point, the team needs to let Ford sink or swim. Ford, the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, spent the entire season behind Hali and Houston, which limited the amount of snaps Ford got, both in practice and games.
Cap analyst and former agent Joel Corry believes Hali probably will come out ahead if he hits the open market, as did veteran pass rushers such as Green Bay’s Julius Peppers and Denver’s DeMarcus Ware, who each scored huge deals as free agents last March.
You can listen to the rest of the interview here.