Per Adam Caplan of Fox Sports.com, the Kansas City Chiefs extended the contract of linebacker Derrick Johnson. The deal includes roughly $15 million in guarantees and if he plays all five years of his extension with the Chiefs, he could earn upwards of $35 million over the life of the contract.
The signing of Derrick Johnson, which once seemed as remote as the Chiefs contending for an AFC West title in 2010, shows a willingness by General Manager Scott Pioli to lock up players who views as essential to the future success of the franchise.
Already this season he's extended the contract of back-up linebacker Andy Studebaker. And there are rumors, he has his sights on signing a few more key players to long-term deals.
Had it not been for our report the deal was in the works on Friday, one could say this signing was a bit of shock. Derrick Johnson suffered through some very rough times in Kansas City. After compiling over 300 tackles in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, he was hit with a large dose of reality last year when Todd Haley arrived.
Johnson and Haley forged their bond in Denver a year ago.
Johnson didn't warm to Haley and neither did the head coach to the Chiefs former first round draft pick. And it took nearly all 16 games for the two to connect. In the season finale at Denver, he had a break out game. And the two gained a new found respect for one another.
Still had the owners not opted out of their deal with the players a year ago, Johnson would have been an unrestricted free agent. Had that twist of fate not happened, it's nearly certain that DJ would be playing for another NFL team.
Johnson becomes one of the first players leftover from the Carl Peterson era to earn a new contract from Pioli.
But that fact alone wasn't enough to sway Pioli's desire to get one of his key players under contract for the long term.