It was a surprise this offseason to see the Kansas City Chiefs sign Jaye Howard to a reported two-year, $10 million contract. That's because many of us figured Howard would get a bigger payday somewhere else. Not that Chiefs fans are complaining.
Howard is back this year but Mike DeVito is not. The former Chiefs defensive lineman has retired but he recently spoke to Sirius XM NFL Radio about Howard and it was interesting to see how early DeVito knew Howard would be a player.
"Jaye's an incredible player," DeVito said. "I don't know if it was a good thing or a bad thing, but Dontari Poe was out for the 2015 training camp because of his back, so I was starting and Jaye was starting. So I got to play next to him going throughout training camp and I knew, once Poe came back that my job was going to be a backup, because Jaye just plays at such a high level, so I was mentally ready for getting demoted."
Howard was claimed off waivers from the Seahawks back in 2013 but he didn't become a full-time player until 2015 when he surprised many of us with a solid season. That makes three defensive linemen - Howard, Allen Bailey, Dontari Poe - that I really like, along with second round pick Chris Jones.
"He's such a young player still, so I think, in a few years, we'll be comparing Jaye to some of the top guys in the league," DeVito said. "He just has all of the physical attributes. He's explosive and smart and then you pair him with Dontari and you pair him with Allen Bailey, and then you pair him with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, that defense is just, from top to bottom, phenomenal."
When you talk about the Chiefs d-line, it always comes back to Poe. His contract is up after this year. They can franchise tag him, so that's two reasonable years of Poe.