The story of the 2014 offseason was Alex Smith's contract, which came shortly before the season started. The story of the Kansas City Chiefs 2015 offseason will likely be the contract negotiations with Justin Houston, who just finished up the final year of his contract.
I've always said there's no way the Chiefs will let Houston, who just came within a half sack of the NFL single season record, walk this season. They will either work out a long-term deal with him or they will franchise tag. Seems pretty simple.
Chiefs GM John Dorsey basically confirmed that Houston would be back next year when he was asked on 810 WHB's Border Patrol Wednesday morning if there was any chance that Houston is not in a Chiefs uniform next year.
"I would say no," Dorsey replied. "Truth be told, no."
I can only take this to mean that the Chiefs will use the franchise tag on him if they do not reach out a long-term deal with him. The window to use the franchise tag starts on February 16 and ends on March 2. From that point, the Chiefs would have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Houston. If they do not, Houston will play under the one-year franchise tender and they'll try again next offseason.
Speaking of that franchise tender, it's been reported that Houston's camp will look into whether he is considered a linebacker or a defensive end. This is important because last year's linebacker tag carried a $11.4 million tender while the defensive end tag was $13.1 million.
If there's any question of the Chiefs stance on this, Dorsey made it clear in his end-of-season press conference on Monday when he said, "In my opinion he plays outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I think the last play in the game [Sunday]; He dropped in the flat. You missed that didn't you?"
(I'll save my anger over Houston dropping into coverage with the NFL sack record in reach for another time.)
So don't worry about 2015, Chiefs fans. Justin Houston will be there. That doesn't mean this still won't be the story of the 2015 offseason.