The Kansas City Chiefs, like a number of other teams, opened up OTAs today, but there were two big-name absences on the defensive side of the ball in Justin Houston and Brandon Flowers. Earlier today, the Kansas City Star’s Terez A. Paylor warned us about the possibility of Houston skipping out on the beginning of OTAs due to his desire for an extension (the star pass rusher is clearly underpaid and heading into the final year of his rookie deal), and Paylor definitely deserves big credit for calling this absence from a mile away. He also reported the absences of both Houston and Flowers, and it will be interesting to see when both players return.
Houston is just 25 and has always been an effective player, notching double-digit sacks as a second-year pro in 2012. He upped his game in 2013 with 11 sacks, and he was a pure wrecking ball at the beginning of the season. A near-unstoppable force, Houston put consistent pressure on the quarterback, and he, Tamba Hali, and Dontari Poe are three phenomenal pass rushers on the Chiefs defense. Houston deserves a big raise, and I’m sure he’s going to get a new deal from John Dorsey, even if the Chiefs spent a first-round pick on Auburn Tigers speedy edge rusher Dee Ford, who has reportedly been impressive so far this offseason.
Meanwhile, Flowers is squarely on the chopping block, and he could even be released this offseason if the Chiefs still can’t find a trade partner and believe he isn’t worth keeping around. Formerly one of the best corners in the NFL, Flowers is making a huge sum of money that the team simply can’t keep, because he doesn’t seem to fit Bob Sutton’s scheme at all. He struggled mightily last season in the new defense, and a change of scenery would do him well. I would honestly be surprised if he remains on the Chiefs roster by the time September rolls around, because his absence from OTAs today seems to be a statement that he would more than welcome that change of scenery. The Chiefs tried to deal him during the draft, but they unsurprisingly couldn’t find anyone willing to take on his salary. He’s a good player, but he’s an odd-man out in a new defense and with a heavy cap hit.