The Chiefs are parting ways with Derrick Johnson, but they won’t be casting fellow linebacker Justin Houston aside. Houston remains in the team’s plans for 2018, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Houston is slated to carry a cap number of $20.6MM in 2018, including a base salary of $14.75MM. That’s arguably too much money for a player who has seen his production dip in recent seasons, but the Chiefs would be left with $12.7MM if they were to trade or release him. Houston was still a major contributor in 2017, so it would make little sense for KC to eat that kind of money in order to move on.
Last year, Houston started in all 15 of his regular season appearances, plus the Chiefs’ first round playoff loss against the Titans. The 29-year-old amassed a team-high 9.5 sacks plus 59 total tackles and graded out as the 15th best edge defender in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. His 87.6 overall score was down from his best work from 2013-2015, but still nothing to sneeze at.
The Chiefs have been active early this offseason. Already, KC has traded Alex Smith to the Redskins and released Darrelle Revis. The Chiefs are expected to jettison other veterans, but Houston will not be among them.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.