Chiefs Draft Countdown: #14 Houston Quandary

With the NFL Draft two weeks away, Warpaint Illustrated will get you primed and ready for the Chiefs upcoming 2015 NFL Draft. Today we speculate Kansas City’s long-term future might be better served without All Pro Linebacker, Justin Houston.

After signing both, Dorsey was committed to signing Houston. However, those talks were derailed when the Houston Texans gave J.J. Watt a ridiculous $100 million contract. Forget the terms or the guarantees he received, all it did was complicate the process for the Chiefs to sign Houston because that’s the number that Houston wants to secure for his services.

As things stand two weeks from the NFL Draft, the Chiefs don’t appear close to getting anything done with Houston. At this point, I’d range the odds of it getting done somewhere between slim and none. There is angst between the organization and his agent, Joel Segal. Add that fact Houston himself has stated nothing so far and it’s reasonable to assume a bitter battle is ahead for both parties.

To those that say the Chiefs won’t pay the money for Houston, well I don’t want to hear it. Last month, Kansas City Chiefs Chairman, Clark Hunt, reached out to Houston stating they would get him signed to a deal after they completed their work in free agency.

Even with that public commitment contract talks have yielded zero progress.

If that’s the case, the Chiefs have to consider dealing Houston if a team is willing to sign him to an offer sheet before the NFL Draft. So are there any NFL teams that would be willing to give up a pair of first round picks?

1. Cleveland Browns - General Manager, Ray Farmer, was instrumental in convincing then Chiefs GM, Scott Pioli, Kansas City would be wise to draft Houston when he slid into the third round of the 2011 NFL draft. Houston didn’t disappoint the team. Over the span of his four-year career in the heartland, Houston contributed 48.5 sacks – including 22 of them in 2014.

The Browns make the most sense for Houston. They have a pair of first round draft picks (#12 & #18) making them the best fit to sign Houston to an offer sheet and get a deal done that will make the Chiefs strongly consider not matching the offer. However, it’s not likely the Browns would be willing to give up a #1 pick this year and next year so they must improvise.

In fact, the way this draft shakes out the #Chiefs can't settle for anything less than the Browns first pick (#12) this year plus the Browns second round pick (#43) in day two and at least a second or third round selection in 2016. That would compensate the Chiefs properly and the Browns would have a prizefighter for their vastly improved defense.

2. Atlanta Falcons - For pure NFL theatre, it makes a lot of sense that Pioli would push hard for a Houston reunion in Atlanta. Since 2014 he’s already added a handful of former Chiefs to the roster so why not go after the best player he ever drafted during his tenure in Kansas City.

As a player, I’m not sure Houston fits into the overall defensive scheme in Atlanta, like he would in Cleveland. Yet if a deal can get done, I’m sure Pioli could convince the Falcons brass it makes sense to mortgage some of their future for the extraordinary talents of Houston.

However, the Falcons hold pick (#8) in the first round and parting with it would be incredibly difficult and a tough sell to the fan base.

On the flip side, should this pick find its way to the Chiefs it would afford them some significant flexibility in round one. Still to get this deal done the additional compensation has to be significant. The Falcons likely won’t hand over consecutive number one picks to the Chiefs so at a minimum they’d have to give up their second round pick (#42) this year and at least a second and fifth rounder in 2016.

Again it’s pure conjecture at this point but as the situation has unfolded to date, I can’t see a happy ending between the Chiefs and Houston. Despite the fact the Chiefs placed the tag on Houston that will allow him to earn $13.195 million dollars in 2015, it’s clear that Houston has turned on the organization much like former Chiefs Cornerback, Brandon Carr, did when he was a free agent a few yeas ago. I could argue like Carr, Houston has made his bones he’d like to play for another team in 2015 and beyond.

At hand for the Chiefs is truly evaluating if indeed that’s the case. For me, despite the fact the Owner reached out to him personally, and went public his desires to sign Houston to a long term deal, perhaps that fell on deaf ears.

The Chiefs are an improved football team heading into this draft. To date, the only one that appears to have failed to see the fine-tuning this organization has done this off-season, to finally wrestle the AFC West Championship away from the Denver Broncos, might be Houston himself.

If that’s truly the case, it might be time to part ways, and hope another team, presents the Chiefs with an offer sheet before draft day.

Should that not occur the Chiefs won’t see Houston until training camp (unless he holds out) then we’re going to do it all over again in 2016 when the Chiefs tag him one last time.

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