I have no idea if Justin Houston will be at Kansas City Chiefs training camp later this month. I don't have any inside information and based on how things have gone previously with Houston, no one else is releasing any inside information either.
Houston signed his four-year rookie deal in 2011, which is set to expire after the 2014 season. He has clearly outperformed his contract and is worthy of a big raise.
Outside of the three-day mandatory minicamp, which included fines totaling nearly $70,000, the Chiefs offseason program was technically voluntary. Sure, nearly everyone shows up but players are not contractually obligated to be there (outside of possible workout bonuses).
Houston skipped the entire offseason program -- conditioning, OTAs and minicamp.
"You can do the lifting and working out on your own, but the actual football part of it, especially in your second year when you're adding new things in, you're going to miss those things," Andy Reid said last month on the importance of OTAs.
With the offseason program now over, the question becomes whether Houston will participate in training camp. The first practice is on July 24 and there has been no indication from either side as to whether Houston will be there. The kicker is that missing training camp can result in fines up to $30,000 per day so there is a financial incentive to not skip it. On the flip side, Houston's new contract will be worth much, much more than whatever fines he incurs.
That said, my prediction is that Houston will not show up to training camp. You have to ask yourself what was the point of skipping the voluntary portion of the offseason if you weren't going to hold out when it really mattered. Houston's only leverage is not showing up. Perhaps the Chiefs coaching staff would nudge GM John Dorsey to get a deal done if he wasn't there. Mostly, I just don't see the point of skipping voluntary practices if you aren't willing to skip mandatory practices, too.
The big picture here remains the same: both sides want a deal done. When both sides want a deal done, more often than not it gets done.
"This isn't the first time this has happened nor will it be the last," Andy Reid said last month.