The Kansas City Chiefs have cut Justin Houston, and these five teams should be ready to add the veteran edge rusher.
The Kansas City Chiefs made their choice among their incumbent edge rushers, franchise tagging Dee Ford while putting Justin Houston on the trade block. Now, according to FanSided’s Matt Verderame, the Chiefs have released the four-time Pro Bowler.
Houston had nine sacks last season, and 9.5 sacks in 2017. But he has missed 16 games over the last three seasons, and a $21.1 million cap hit for a team needing the space left him to no longer be a fit for the Chiefs. As it is they’ll absorb $7.1 million in dead money if he’s a pre-June 1 cut, but the $14 million in cleared space is plenty valuable. Kansas City is also transitioning to a 4-3 defensive scheme, so Houston is not a great fit for that (and neither is Ford, for that matter).
Houston is 30 years old, and his best years appear to be behind him. But he’s still a useful player, as evidenced by when he was mostly healthy over the last two seasons. With the premium placed on pass rushers, he will have no trouble finding a new home.
These five teams should be at the front of the line to sign Houston when he hits the open market.
5. Oakland Raiders
Almost immediately after trading Khalil Mack before last season, Jon Gruden lamented how hard it is to find edge rushers. It was no surprise when Oakland finished dead-last in the league in sacks with 13, by a substantial margin with the next two teams tallying 30 sacks.
The Raiders are trying to get younger and cheaper through most of the roster, so Houston doesn’t fit that plan on its face. But on a short deal, he could be a valuable veteran and Oakland needs plenty of pass rush help regardless of a player’s age. If it comes down to be able to pay up to get Houston, the Raiders have nearly $73 million in cap space right now (sixth-most in the league, via Over The Cap).