Former agent and CBS Sports contributor Joel Corry has an excellent post on the contract talks between Justin Houston and the Kansas City Chiefs where he proposes a "fair contract" for both sides.
Go over and read the entire post as Corry does a great job explaining - in English - some of the contract complexities that will come into play. There's more to it than you realize.
At the heart of the many issues seems to be whether Houston should be compared to the highest paid player at his position (Clay Matthews at $13 million per year) or if he has transcended that and should be compared to the highest paid non-quarterbacks in the NFL (Ndamukong Suh or JJ Watt). There's also the issue of whether he should be the highest paid player on the Chiefs, which is currently Alex Smith at $17 million per year.
Corry suggests this contract: Five years, $81.25 million with $48 million guaranteed. That is an average of just over $16 million per year, which is less than Alex Smith. The Chiefs can franchise Houston this year and next at a cost of roughly $30 million so that could be where the negotiations begin.
Last November, before Houston nearly set the NFL sack record, Corry suggested a contract that would pay him between $14.5 - 15.5 million. The deadline to sign a long-term deal this year is July 15. If a deal is not done by then, Houston can not sign a long-term deal until the 2015 season is over.
Go read the entire piece from Corry if you want to realize just how little you know about NFL contracts.