I am not John Dorsey but I try to play him on the Internet.
This is my priority list for the Kansas City Chiefs Big Three; the three players in search of new contracts, including Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston and Alex Smith.
1. Jamaal Charles (2 years left)
This seems backwards since he has the most years left. Maybe I'm reacting in the heat of the moment but ... he is the Chiefs best player. He is the most underpaid player. He is also the biggest threat to hold out. For those reasons, Charles is the priority ... assuming he's a real threat to hold out. The Chiefs have reportedly known this was coming and communicated with Jamaal's reps about a new deal. Would it surprise you if a new deal was done by this weekend? It really wouldn't for me.
The argument against putting him here is that he has two years left on his current deal. As some have pointed out, ripping up a contract with two years left is a bad precedent for the Chiefs to set because every player is going to claim they're a special case like Jamaal. The Chiefs should still reward Jamaal for what he can do in the near future. It would be a mistake for the Chiefs to commit serious money to Charles beyond the next two seasons given the way running back production tends to decline around that age (yes, there are exceptions). This guy will be in your Ring of Honor one day. He merits special consideration here so long as you're not screwing yourself in the future.
2. Justin Houston (1 year left)
Houston has to report to Chiefs camp by a certain date in order to accrue another season for free agency. It has already been communicated by our favorite pal "anonymous source" that Houston plans on attending camp. If you have one player who isn't in camp and one player who is, which one is the priority? That's not to say Houston isn't important ... he is more of the ideal person to pay than anyone else on the roster as a young cornerstone. His time will come.
Houston would be No. 2 if I were the GM. I'm not sure if he's No. 2 on Dorsey's priority list because it's probably easier for the Chiefs to give Alex Smith more money because Houston is making less than $2 million this year -- that would be a huge raise.
3. Alex Smith (1 year left)
This is what Smith gets for being a team player and not holding out (always get paid first, kids). That and, if I were the Chiefs GM, I'm really liking Smith's $7.5 million salary in 2014 compared to the numbers his agent is probably throwing around. I'm an Alex Smith fan and want him around long-term but et's talk after the season, Tom Condon.