I just got done writing an item on my understanding of the Justin Houston situation, which is basically that there's no way the Chiefs are letting him get to free agency this year. I wrote in there that the only question left is whether Houston will sign his franchise tag and participate in offseason workouts or whether he would choose not to sign it right away and skip the team's offseason workouts once again.
Pro Football Talk has an answer on that last question. Mike Florio said to look for Houston to sign the franchise tender as soon as the Chiefs use it. Once he signs it, Houston would be guaranteed that one-year contract, which for linebackers last year was over $11 million.
Signing that tender would also mean that Houston would be officially under contract and presumably attending the Chiefs offseason program, which starts in April 1. Even though Houston skipped the offseason program last year and still put up 22 sacks, it's a good thing he works out with the team during the offseason.
There was, at one point, some question over whether Houston's camp would fight for the defensive end designation, which was over $13 million last year but I don't know where they stand with that. Obviously the Chiefs want the lower amount for cap purposes because these franchise tenders are not flexible at all.
The window to use the franchise tag opens on February 16 and closes on March 2.
Update: Mike Garafolo says Houston may not sign the tag right away.