KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs made sure All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston didn’t enter the market as an unrestricted free agent on March 2 by designating him as a non-exclusive franchise player.
Kansas City has now ensured Houston won’t be going anywhere in the near future by securing his services to a lucrative deal.
The Chiefs signed Houston to a six-year, $101 million deal with $52.5 million guaranteed, a source familiar with the situation confirmed Wednesday with ChiefsDigest.com. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Chiefs have not officially announced the signing.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the news.
UPDATE: The Chiefs announced the signing.
“Today we were able to reach an agreement with Justin and his agent, Joel Segal, to keep him here in Kansas City for the foreseeable future,” general manager John Dorsey said in a released statement. “He’s one of the top players in the National Football League and a premier pass rusher. As we’ve said from the beginning, Justin the football player, and the person, is someone we wanted to be a part of our organization. We are very happy that he will remain a member of the Chiefs.”
Houston’s signing comes on the final day for teams and designated franchise players to have a deal in place.
The original franchise tender the Chiefs placed on Houston carried a one-year, $13.1 million tag. Had the two sides not agreed to a multiyear deal or extension by 4 p.m. ET, Houston could only sign the tender or a one-year deal for the 2015 season.
Houston’s contract makes him the second-highest paid defensive player in the NFL behind Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who signed a six-year, $114 million deal in March.
The 26-year-old Houston led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014 while playing in the final year of his rookie contract.
Potentially lost in the contract discussion between the Chiefs and Houston’s agent, Joel Segal, is how they two sides conducted business.
The parties maintained professionalism and kept the behind-the-scenes negotiations out of the media. That scenario offers a stark contrast to what is occurring around the NFL with the talks surrounding the likes of wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant.
For his part, Houston took to Twitter to show his appreciation of the deal:
Blessed to sign contract with the KC Chiefs. Thanks to my family #1 & my agents Joel Segal & @gbo74 for the awesome contract!
— Justin Houston (@JHouston50) July 15, 2015