The 2015 NFL free agency period will soon be upon us and NFL writers are talking about the list of the top free agents coming in the new league year on March 10. The top 25 free agents, the best free agent fits, the best offensive and defensive free agents ... all kinds of free agency lists.
Chiefs LB Justin Houston is scheduled to be a free agent in March so his name is on all these free agent lists. He is listed as the No. 2 free agent on NFL.com's list. SI.com says he headlines the pass rushing free agents. I've had other SB Nation bloggers email me for my thoughts on Houston because they want their team to target him in free agency.
There's just one problem with all of this. Justin Houston will not become a free agent. The only discussion worth having here is whether Houston will be franchise tagged (probably coming in a few weeks) or whether he will receive a long-term contract, the latter being unlikely at this point.
Chiefs GM John Dorsey more or less confirmed weeks ago that Houston will be back when he said he can't envision any scenario where Houston is not part of the Chiefs next season.
The real discussion here is what happens to Houston after he gets tagged. Will he sign his franchise tag? If not that would mean Houston missing the offseason program. Coaches like Andy Reid will tell you that missing the offseason program is a problem because they need to get in football shape and learn the system. I would point to last year where Houston skipped all summer in protest of his contract and showed up only to nearly break the NFL sack record. So, yeah, the Chiefs can make do if he decides not to sign his franchise tag right away.
[UPDATE: PFT reports that Houston will definitely sign the franchise tag right away.]
The Chiefs have put Houston in a position where he is becoming a leader on the team. Those types of players (the ones who are still productive) aren't cast off when free agency comes.