Kansas City Chiefs release Pro Bowl OLB Justin Houston

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After several days of rumors of his potential exit, the Kansas City Chiefs made it official with the release of Justin Houston on Sunday. He initially signed a six-year, $101 million deal with the Chiefs back in 2015.

The Statesboro, Georgia, native, recorded 22.0 sacks in 2014, setting a franchise single-season record passing the late Derrick Thomas' previous mark of 20.0 set in 1990. That included a $15.25 million base salary, which the Chiefs now avoid paying. 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.

In eight seasons with the Chiefs, Houston has 78.5 sacks.

The Patriots are on the verge of acquiring one of the best pass rushers on the market in Michael Bennett. "We appreciate his contributions to our team and community". "His passion helped him become one the most successful pass rushers in franchise history". With Houston in the fold last season, the Chiefs tied for the National Football League lead in sacks forced (52) in 2019 but decided it was time to part ways with Houston, who was set to earn $15.2 million in base salary this coming season according to Over The Cap.

These five teams should be at the front of the line to sign Houston when he hits the open market.

He should have no shortage of suitors after seasons of 9 1/2 sacks two years ago and nine more last season, provided he can convince a club he can remain healthy.

Brett Veach: "Justin has made a lasting impact on this franchise and I can't thank him enough for his contributions over the years". "And I appreciate the work he put in with us". "These decisions are never easy. I wish him the best as he continues his career".

Justin Houston has an excellent relationship with Patriots pass rush coach Joe Kim from their time together in Kansas City.

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