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Dixon’s Arrowhead Pride mailbag: Tyreek, Houston coming back and Clancy awards

Let’s see what our readers want to know about this week!

Green Bay Packers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Welcome to Dixon’s Arrowhead Pride Mailbag, where I’ll attempt to answer your questions about the Kansas City Chiefs and anything else that’s on your mind. If you have a question, you can hit my profile page to e-mail me, or ask me on Twitter.

While you’re at it, please follow me on Twitter, too.

What’s the latest on Tyreek Hill?


That’s the question on everybody’s lips, Ivan, so thanks for asking.

Here’s the short answer: nothing.

The press did manage to get the Johnson County Prosecutor and the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) to make statements, but those statements told us nothing more about the case than we knew when the news about Hill broke late on Friday afternoon: investigations are underway. None of the questions we have all been asking since then are any closer to being answered.

But the Kansas City Star’s Tuesday story did provide some unsettling background. It is apparently normal for non-emergency DCF investigations to take 30 days, and they have been known to last for a year or more. Spokesman Mike Deines said that the agency is aware of that problem.

But the agency has been addressing that concern and at this time, Deines said, 63 percent of the cases are completed within the 30 days. The agency is working to improve that to 85 percent, he said.

This is more bad news for the Chiefs. They can’t reasonably be expected to proceed on Hill’s contract negotiation while this situation remains unresolved. But neither can they proceed on the assumption that Hill won’t be on the team in 2019 and beyond; nobody knows at this point whether Hill has even been accused of anything, just that he’s involved in an investigation.

So for the Chiefs and their fans, there’s nothing to do but wait for more information. And like the late Tom Petty famously said... the waiting is the hardest part.

Did the Chiefs drop the Tyreek Hill news for contract negotiation leverage?

— Max

No, Max. Just no.

Look... I realize it’s now fashionable to distrust everybody and think there’s a conspiracy in every corner. (For example: there’s a conspiracy that is responsible for my socks disappearing in the laundry).

But the number one thing the team wants is for Hill to play for the Chiefs. They otherwise wouldn’t be talking about giving him a contract worth as much as $100 million.

Would they like to save a few bucks? Of course, they would. But at the cost of a potential NFL suspension for an unknown number of games? No, they wouldn’t.

Let’s recall that the NFL can do anything it wants. If it — in the form of Roger Goodell — wants to decide that Hill deserves a suspension because there is a suspicion that he’s done something bad, they could do it. The league’s personal conduct policy is purposely broad enough to give them absolute power in situations like these.

The Chiefs don’t want that.

Even the suspicion of Hill is costing the Chiefs a lot of the goodwill they’ve generated with his play since he was drafted. Some fans were unhappy that the Chiefs drafted Hill in the first place. Those folks could be ready to throw him to the wolves just on the suspicion that something has happened.

The Chiefs don’t want that, either.

Bottom line: it makes no sense for the Chiefs to put that kind of information out there just to give themselves contract leverage.

Thanks for asking, Max. I know there are other folks who have these kinds of concerns. There are conspiracies in the world — for example, like the one in my clothes dryer. But this isn’t one of them.

Any thoughts on Justin Houston coming back for less (a la Ron Parker)? Haven’t heard about any visits for him.

— Dan

You’re right, Dan: we haven’t seen any reports about team visits for Houston, who is on some lists as one of the top two or three still-available free agents. But apparently things are happening.

On Monday night, Ian Rapoport appeared on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access and was asked about Houston. He said that as of last week, Houston had narrowed the field to three teams, but as of Monday night, there were only two teams in contention. Rapoport didn’t name the teams.

Based on that report, we could guess that Houston’s agent has received calls from at least three teams expressing interest in the former Chiefs linebacker, and Houston has been trying to decide if he wants to play for any of them. Once he’s made that decision, then it’s a matter of getting back to his first choice and seeing if his agent can strike a deal. If that doesn’t work, he’d still have at least one other team with which he could try to strike a bargain.

Is it possible that if Houston is unable to make a deal with another team, he could come back to the Chiefs? Yes. Anything is possible. But is it likely? No.

It’s not even a similar situation. Remember... Ron Parker was essentially a journeyman when he came to the Chiefs. He was an undrafted player in this third season, and had been on three different teams before arriving in Kansas City. Houston, on the other hand, has been with the Chiefs since he was drafted and has been one of the team’s stars for many years. It’s just not likely that after being released so close to the beginning of free agency, he’d come back to the Chiefs for substantially less money.

Thanks for asking, Dan.

How much 2019 cap space left after the signings?

— David

At this writing late Tuesday afternoon, says the Chiefs have $22,988,570 in cap space, which is current up through the signing of Bashaud Breeland. (The usual disclaimer: the NFLPA has the real numbers. OTC only has estimates based on reported contract information).

Even though he’s been released from the team, that $23 million figure represents the cap space with Eric Berry’s contract still active. That’s because as a post-June 1 cut, his contract will stay on the books until June 2. On that day, his $16.5 million cap hit will disappear, $6.95 million in dead money will be added back in, and the Chiefs will end up with an additional $9.55 million in cap space. Next season — as a result of making Berry a post-June 1 cut — the Chiefs will have another $8 million in dead money from Berry’s contract that will chew up some of the 2020 salary cap.

That $23 million sounds like enough to make another big move or two in free agency, but that will depend largely on how much cap space the big extensions the Chiefs want to sign with Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill will use. So we’ll see how that plays out.

Thanks, David.

If you were going to give awards to Tom Clancy books, what would they be, and for which books?

— Sam

Best Writing: Clear And Present Danger

Most Exciting Story: The Sum Of All Fears

Best Scene: President Jack Ryan tells off the Indian Prime Minister in Executive Orders.

Best Character: Sergeant Major Noah Breckenridge, USMC, Patriot Games

Best Hero: John Clark. Who else?

I was absolutely addicted to Clancy’s techno-thriller novels in the 1980s and 1990s. By the time Clear And Present Danger was written, there was a legitimate question of whether Clancy was a serious writer — but that book had an original, thoughtful (and timely) story, along with a bevy of new, sharply-defined characters — and Clancy’s usual heavy dose of action and military technology.

The Sum Of All Fears is an edge-of-your-seat thriller. I was given a copy a couple of days before my birthday in 1991 and decided to spend my birthday enjoying it. I literally couldn’t put it down. I ended up staying up all night and finishing it in one sitting.

Many Clancy scenes stand out: the moment Marko Ramius responds to Ryan’s blinkered Morse code message in the North Atlantic, and Ryan realizes he’d guessed right about the Soviet submarine captain’s intentions in The Hunt For Red October... the retaliatory assassination of Iran’s Ayatollah Mahmoud Haji Daryaei via smart-bomb — live on national TV — in Executive Orders... and when Ryan is left behind on the tarmac in Moscow’s Sheremeryevo Airport after facilitating the escape of his agent Colonel Filitov and KGB Chairman Gerasimov in The Cardinal Of The Kremlin.

But the scene where Ryan lets the Indian Prime Minister know he is on to her game — and curtly informs her she has “chosen the wrong friends” — in Executive Orders has always been one of my favorites.

Sergeant Breckenridge is a fairly minor character in Patriot Games, but I have always loved the brief picture Clancy painted of the man assigned to the United States Naval Academy as an unspoken challenge to the midshipmen: “Don’t even think about being a Marine officer unless you are fit to command a man like this.”

And what can you say about John Clark? A Navy SEAL who was given a new identity after declaring a one-man war on Baltimore drug dealers, he goes on to join the CIA, becoming a multilingual officer who shouted among the crowds outside the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979... spirited the KGB Chairman’s daughter out of the Soviet Union... directed a smart bomb into a meeting of Medellin drug lords in Colombia... made a committed terrorist reveal that the nuclear bomb at the Super Bowl was meant to spark a war between the United States and Russia.. and directed the anti-terror team that saved the human race from near-extinction at the Olympics in Sydney? That’s some deep-blue hero stuff.

Thanks for the question, Sam.

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