This will make some of you happy and some of you confused: DT Jaye Howard and the Kansas City Chiefs are talking about a long-term contract. This according to a report from the KC Star's Terez Paylor, who cites multiple sources. The Star report has quotes from Howard, who is in the final year of his contract, saying he wants to be in KC.
It's not clear if this is just in the beginning stages or if any real progress has been made or if a deal will be done at all. But that they're talking means there's interest in both sides in getting this done.
Howard has been a revelation at defensive tackle this year. After he was part of the Chiefs "second draft class" of the seven players that were claimed on roster cut down day in 2013, Howard laid low until emerging this year as one of the league's top run defenders.
The Chiefs struggled against the run the past two years so I don't think Howard's emergence and the Chiefs top 10 run defense ranking is a coincidence. He's playing a lot of snaps and he's making a difference. He's an important piece of the puzzle.
So there are a few questions and both are related to each other:
Should the Chiefs pay him? While the Chiefs have had Howard on the team since 2013, his playing time sample size is still fairly low. It's not the risk that free agency is by any means but there is still some unknown here. The key to remember: you pay for future production, not past production. He's 26 years old so it's reasonable to think, if you believe in him, that he has plenty of productive years ahead of him.
How much would a contract be? I don't know what type of numbers they're talking about but as the Star points out Howard has the same agent (Drew Rosenhaus) as Allen Bailey, who did a four-year, $28 million deal with the Chiefs last year.
What does this mean for Dontari Poe? It's too early to speculate ... but that won't stop us from speculating. The Chiefs have exercised an option on Poe for 2016 and that's it. They could strike a long-term deal with him or they could franchise him in 2017 and keep him for another couple years at a reasonable rate. Or they could let him walk. I will say this: it's hard to see a way that the Chiefs have three defensive linemen under lucrative long-term deals. Something's gotta give.