It's become pretty standard in the NFL today. If you feel you're underpaid, you sit out some form of the offseason program as a nod to your desire for a new deal.
When Houston missed the first day of OTAs some people assumed it was about his contract. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, those assumptions are correct.
#Chiefs star OLB Justin Houston skipped OTAs today. I’m told he wants a new contract. He has a year left on his rookie deal at $1.4M.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 27, 2014
Way back in February, the two sides were said to be talking about a new deal but nothing else has come out about it since then. Alex Smith and Derrick Johnson were asked about Houston and Brandon Flowers absence on Tuesday, according to quotes sent out by the Chiefs, but both answered around it.
Houston is entering the final year of his rookie contract which will pay him just over $1 million, a far cry from his true value to the Chiefs. He's clearly the future of the Chiefs pass rush and both sides want him in Kansas City for a long time.
A player like Houston is good in any scheme. He has produced in his short NFL career. Obviously, a deal needs to get done. But with Alex Smith also needing a new contract, and the Chiefs not exactly finding themselves flush with cap space, priorities will need to be set. Both players are under contract for the 2014 season so the issue isn't pressing ... yet.
The Chiefs do have some insurance if anything goes haywire with first round pick Dee Ford in the fold but we saw what happened last season when the Chiefs lost one of their pass rushers (let alone both). On Tuesday with Houston absent, it was Frank Zombo, not Ford, taking Houston's spot.
Until training camp, it's hard for me to be too concerned about this now. Like the Flowers situation, he could show up tomorrow for all I know at this point.