The Kansas City Chiefs are facing an offseason of Justin Houston recovering from surgery to fix his ACL. The Chiefs have said that Houston is out 6-12 months after his February surgery. So how do the Chiefs go about replacing him?
First things first. Houston COULD be ready to go by Week 1. The low end of his rehab would have him back in August, which is before the start of the season in September. That would make all these freakouts for nothing. That's the best case scenario.
However, it's also possible that Houston is NOT back in time for Week 1. Then what?
If Houston is out for just part of the start of the season, the plan should be Tamba Hali and Dee Ford. Tamba has been fresh at the start of the season in past years so even though the Chiefs want to limit some of his snaps next season he could be a full time player early on if Houston is out only a few weeks. Ford, for his part, will get a full offseason with the starters. From year two to three, we should see some improvement from him. He's young enough that he has to be a full time player if Houston is out.
What if Houston is out for longer than just a few weeks? What if it's a couple months?
Then the Chiefs probably need to think about bringing in some reinforcements. Tamba was talking earlier this offseason about splitting snaps at times next season in order to stay fresh, which tells you where he's at in his career. It may not be wise to rely on him as a full time player. Ford, if we're being honest, is still a question mark. I love Frank Zombo but if Frank Zombo is part of your pass rushing plans, you need some help.
The Chiefs have less than $6 million in cap space at the moment so they better hope that they don't need significant reinforcements.
(Note: I didn't mention it because, uh, I forgot but Jonathan Massaquoi is a Chiefs pass rusher now too. Stagdsp has a piece on him.)