KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A sign of progress emerged Sunday morning between the Chiefs and outside linebacker Justin Houston, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10.
The Chiefs and Houston’s representatives will meet in Indianapolis in an attempt to work out a multiyear contract, a league source confirmed with ChiefsDigest.com. The meeting is expected to occur no later than Wednesday, according to the source.
NBC’s ProFootballTalk.com was the first to report the news.
The Chiefs and Houston’s camp will be in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins Tuesday, Feb. 17 and runs through Monday, Feb. 23.
The Chiefs are expected to apply the franchise designation on Houston if a long-term deal can’t be worked out. The NFL’s window for teams to identify franchise or transition players opens Monday, Feb. 16 and runs through March 2.
There are no guarantees, however, Houston would immediately sign the franchise tender, which would pay an average of the top five salaries at the outside linebacker position.
The Chiefs and Houston’s camp attempted to work out a multiyear contract during the 2014 offseason before negotiations stalled.
Houston showed his frustration by not attending voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) and not reporting for mandatory minicamp. He reported to training camp on time.
Houston, who played the 2014 season in the final year of his original rookie contract, earned a base salary of $1.4 million.
He led the NFL with 22 sacks, which established a team record for a single season. Houston’s 22 sacks finished a ½ sack shy from tying the single-season NFL record of 22 ½ sacks established by Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan in 2001.
Houston’s production in 2014 earned him a first-team All-Pro selection by The Associated Press and a third straight Pro Bowl selection.
The 26-year-old Houston has become one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers since entering the league in 2011 as the Chiefs’ third-round pick (70th overall).
He has 33 total sacks in the past two seasons. Houston’s 48 ½ sacks since 2011 ranks sixth on the Chiefs’ all-time sacks list.
The Chiefs were contacted for this report, but the team doesn’t comment on ongoing contract negotiations.