I’ve said it many times, and it bares repeating as often as you’ll listen, Kansas City Chiefs Chairman, Clark Hunt, has committed his vast fortune to retain and sign premier football players in hopes of bringing another Super Bowl back to the Chiefs nation.
When Hunt signed off on the mega contract the organization gave to Linebacker, Justin Houston, it signaled the end of financial conservatism that has plagued this team for decades.
Below watch our Scout Now Video Feature on the impact of retaining Justin Houston.
However, he can’t close those cash vault doors just yet. Though the Chiefs have already exercised the fifth year option ($6.1 Million) in 2016 for Defensive Tackle, Dontari Poe, the organization must determine this season if he’s worthy of the long-term coin it’ll cost the team to retain his services before he hits free agency in 2017.
Clouding the financial picture about retaining Poe has to do with the perceived NFL market value for a top shelf defensive tackle. Over the last two years, the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put a high dollar premium on the position.
In March, the Dolphins gave Nose Tackle, Nadamuking Suh, a six-year, $114 million dollar contract. A year before that the Bucs shelled out $97 million to ink Gerald McCoy to a seven-year extension.
So what does this mean for Dontari Poe and his future contract negotiations with the Chiefs?
First, the fact Poe is in the conversation with Suh and McCoy, has much to do with the fact, he’s one of the best young defensive tackles in the game. Of the trio of defensive tackles I mention, Poe might be the best all around talent of the three.
The debate about Poe isn’t if he’s worthy of the new coin, or the fact his pro bowl appearances won’t disappear any time soon, instead it’ll be his ability to play at a high level for 16 games.
The biggest area of concern about his overall game has been Poe’s Houdini act towards the end of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
In each of the last two years, he’s been lights out as a run stuffing, quarterback sacking force in the middle of the Chiefs defensive line in the first half of the season. But as the weather gets colder, so does his game. If not, for those gaps in play, there’d be zero debate he deserves a contract in the same league as Justin Houston.
The good news for the organization is they have two full seasons to wage war on the financial impact it’ll take to get Poe under contract for the long haul. Further, the Chiefs, even with future dollars committed to Houston, Quarterback Alex Smith, Wide Receiver, Jeremy Maclin and Running Back, Jamaal Charles, they have an enormous amount of cap room at their disposal after this season.
With a salary cap that’s expected to rise by the tens of millions over the next several years, the Chiefs will have a plethora of financial room to extend Poe’s contract and continue to be aggressive in free agency.
Though it’s early to determine which direction the organization will go in regards to retaining Poe after the 2016 season, it’s never too early to plan for the future.
Photos Timothy T. Ludwig & Kirby Lee USA Today Sports