In the modern NFL, you can never have enough pass rushers. When it comes to hitting the other team’s quarterback, no price can seem too high. With the introduction of the franchise tag system, players want to lock down long-term contracts and get their hands on guaranteed money. Today was deadline day for many teams and players, and the Chiefs were able to get their man. Stud pass rusher Justin Houston, one of the league’s best linebackers, has agreed to a new contract worth over $100 million.
Houston will now anchor the defense for the Chiefs as they have a chance to take control of the AFC West for the upcoming future. Denver and San Diego are on the decline, and KC is trending in the right direction. With a nightmare rusher like Houston, Andy Reid can focus on improving other areas of his team. And for Houston, he is happy and secure knowing he is taken care of and will most likely be a Chief for the remainder of his career.
Here’s what you need to know about Houston and his new deal:
1. The Deal Is Worth 6 Years & Up to $101 Million
The Chiefs paid dearly for Houston, but they believe he is worth every penny. The total value of the deal is worth over $100 million, but not all of that is guaranteed. Given Houston’s track record, it shouldn’t be hard for him to get those bonuses. Last season Houston came within a half sack of breaking the all-time single season record of 22.5 sacks held by Michael Strahan. Now standing at 48.5 sacks through his first four seasons, it’s safe to say that Houston won’t just be making the minimum number on his deal.
2. Over $30 Million Is Fully Guaranteed
In the NFL, when your career can be ended on any play, guaranteed money is the most important part of your contract. Performance bonuses mean nothing if you are stuck on the sidelines. For Houston, his agent did an excellent job of securing his money. $32.5 million of Houston’s money is fully guaranteed. If he gets injured, $52.5 million of his contract will still be his. If he plays or not, Houston and his agent secured a deal that has made everyone at the table happy. Now the only thing left to do is win. Kansas City has been a playoff disappointment for many years, and Andy Reid has been brought in to change that. They still have holes on offense and on both lines, but Houston will always be a threat when he is on the field. With a healthy Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs will be a tough matchup for teams this season.
3. Houston Is One of the League’s Best
Since being drafted in the third round in 2011, Houston has been an impact player for the Chiefs. Originally projected to go late in the first round, Houston’s stock took a dive when he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. After a strong rookie season, Justin started every game in 2012, recording 53 tackles and 10 sacks. But the Georgia native exploded in 2014, finishing just shy of the single-season record. Houston recorded a sack in 13 of 16 games, and was named First Team All-Pro for the first time in his career.
4. He’ll Be Banking Hard By 2017
Like most deals in the NFL, Houston’s deal is backloaded. This gives Kansas City time to restructure later, but also lays out some pretty big opportunities for Houston. While the exact particulars of salary and signing bonuses are unclear, Jason La Canfora gave a pretty clear description on Twitter:
Huge $ for Justin Houston: $21.5M in 2015, $43m by March 2016. $52.5M total by March 2017. $32.5M full guar. $52.5m guar for injury. Wow— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) July 15, 2015
As you can see, Houston’s money problems are over. Even if he gets injured, he is financially secure. While some contracts reward previous performance instead of future, Houston’s deal is a bit of both. He certainly deserves to be rewarded after playing off a 3rd round contract, and at 26 years old, Houston will still be effective at his position at the end of his deal. Houston has never undergone major surgery or missed time due to injury, showing signs that he will be a consistent player well into his thirties.
5. He Is Now One of the Highest-Paid Players in the League
Houston’s deal is not just impressive for a linebacker. It’s impressive for anyone. The $101 million total puts Houston with the NFL’s elite. That number is bigger than the total contracts for JJ Watt, Mario Williams, and even Drew Brees. It’s not as much the $114 million Suh inked in Miami, but it’s more than big-name QBs Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger.