2:40 PM: Houston’s negotiations could be pushed along if another top pass rusher secures a new contract to set the market, according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Either the Texans’ J.J. Watt or the Rams’ Robert Quinn could be in line for an extension soon, that would serve as a guideline to the annual salary a terrorizing pass rusher is worth.
12:20 PM: Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston had hoped to sign a new contract with the team before the regular season gets underway, but the two sides remain so far apart in negotiations that there’s virtually no chance of an agreement within the next couple weeks, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). According to La Canfora, Houston will play out his current deal, which expires at season’s end.
Houston, 25, has racked up 21 sacks in 27 games for the Chiefs in the last two seasons, earning spots in consecutive Pro Bowls. The Georgia product ranked as the league’s best all-around 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), scoring positive grades against the run, in pass coverage, and as a pass rusher. However, since he was a third-round pick in 2011 and didn’t have a fifth-year option on his contract, Houston is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will earn a base salary of just $1.4MM in 2014.
La Canfora had previously reported earlier in August that Houston and the Chiefs were far apart in contract talks, so it appears not much progress has been made in recent weeks. As the CBSSports.com scribe notes (via Twitter), quarterback Alex Smith is also still without an extension, so if the Chiefs don’t lock him up either, the team could face a tough decision at year’s end on which player gets the franchise tag.