AFC West Notes: Smith, Houston, Gates

Here’s the latest out of the AFC West:

  • With Alex Smith and Justin Houston both facing potential free agency next March, the Chiefs may have a dilemma on their hands if they have to decide which player to use the franchise tag on, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. As Joel Corry of observes (via Twitter), Kansas City may not be inclined to franchise either player, since the tags would be very pricey — about $18MM for a quarterback and $14MM for an outside linebacker.
  • Florio follows up that piece on Smith and Houston by providing an update on Houston’s contract negotiations with the Chiefs. According to PFT’s source, there’s a “huge” gap between Houston’s asking price and Kansas City’s current offer, which was made by the team when the linebacker reported to training camp. The Chiefs may not be eager to break the bank on Houston, since their other starting outside linebacker – Tamba Hali – has an $11MM+ annual cap hit, and the club also invested a 2014 first-round pick on pass rusher Dee Ford.
  • Robert Klemko of believes this will be Antonio Gates’ last year with the Chargers. The longtime San Diego tight end will carry an $8.2MM cap number in 2015, and is being pushed for playing time and targets by 24-year-old Ladarius Green.
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