INDIANAPOLIS — Chiefs general manager Brett Veach hears the rumors too, and on Thursday he confirmed the Chiefs have engaged in potential trade discussions for linebacker Justin Houston.
"Obviously I've seen it myself out there and listen, Justin Houston is a great player," Veach said. "I think this time of year I'm no different than any other GM standing on the podium. There's 32 teams here, and every coach is here, every personnel member is here and we're staying in the same hotel, so there's a lot of dialogue."
Whether that dialogue translates into action, however, remains another matter.
"I think right now we're just in the process of collecting information and working with what we have, and then leave here and get together again and discuss and see what we can do to make our team better," Veach said.
This offseason marks a potential out in the six-year, $101 million contract extension Houston signed in 2015. He carries a cap hit of $21.1 million this season. If the Chiefs trade or release Houston this offseason, he carries $7.1 million in dead cap space and the Chiefs can save $15.25 million in salary this season and $17 million next season.
The Chiefs can gain $14 million in cap space by parting ways with Houston. That coincides nicely with another figure of note for the Chiefs — the cost of applying the franchise tag on linebacker Dee Ford, which projects to around $15.7 million.
"Everything is fluid for the next few weeks until we get into the start of the league year," Veach said, "and we'll kind of handle that as the information we get and what's real and what's not real. It's a good problem to have because he's a great player."
Veach has options with Houston, however, and he plans to consider all of them up to and through the beginning of the league's new fiscal year on March 13. The 30-year-old Houston staying in Kansas City also remains on the table.
"Again I would say he's under contract for this year and next year and again our plan is to play with him," Veach said. "We look forward to having him on our roster, but there's a lot of dialogue."