While the Chiefs still owe him $2.5 million guaranteed, they want Howard to sign with another team before the draft, so that they are off the hook for that amount in 2017.
The 28-year-old was placed on injured reserve in December after suffering a hip flexor in midseason. In four seasons in Kansas City, Howard recorded 7.5 sacks and 122 combined tackles.
Safety Eric Berry slid out of the first Chiefs locker room to win a division championship since his rookie season of 2010 nonplussed. He’s been to the playoffs three times before. This group won a playoff game together last season. Sunday’s 37-27 victory over the Chargers, which helped clinch a bye and the No. 2 seed in the AFC, was an example of why this Chiefs group can accomplish so much more.
In this Any Given Sunday league, the Chiefs put out nearly the same product every weekend. They have a proven formula, one that makes them one of only three legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, along with New England and Pittsburgh.
Sunday night was an incredibly good time for the Kansas City Chiefs. They trounced their AFC West rival in front of a nationally televised audience on Christmas. They clinched a playoff berth before that 33-10 win over the Denver Broncos actually ever kicked off. They also unveiled something that will be critical to any success they hope to enjoy now that they’ve punched their ticket to the postseason: an offense that might have enough juice to get them where they hope to go.
This year’s Chiefs have excelled at finding different ways to win games. What they haven’t done often is what they did against a defense as elite as Denver’s. The Chiefs ran the ball for 238 yards. They threw it for another 246. The big plays were there as well, as rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill produced a 70-yard touchdown run and tight end Travis Kelce scored on an 80-yard pass play.
The Eagles fired Andy Reid on Dec. 31, 2012. A Monday. The Chiefs hired him on Friday of that week. Wow. That window wasn’t open very long. Kind of like Maggie on “How I Met Your Mother” in Season 5. I wonder if the Hunts got a call from an old lady in Philly to let them know Reid was single. Because that was pretty damn quick. But it was a smart move, too.
It also didn’t take Eagles fans long to be pissed about this. Because they hired Chip Kelly. That was fun (for about a second). Until it wasn’t (about a second later, after Kelly had discarded a whole bunch of talent). Meanwhile, Reid took over a team that had just gone 2-14 and punched a playoff ticket, going 11-5 in Year 1. The Chiefs are 43-21 under Reid so far. They are one of five teams with a winning record in each of the past four seasons (along with New England, Green Bay, Denver and Seattle). And they are doing it with Alex Smith.
The Chiefs have one candidate in mind. Rapoport reported over the weekend Kansas City has added ESPN analyst Louis Riddick to their candidate list for the GM job and hope to interview him next week. Riddick wrote on Twitter that the Chiefs have yet to contact him regarding an interview.
After losing their No. 2 personnel man, Chris Ballard, to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, Dorsey was viewed as the stabilizing force who could keep the consistently steady Chiefs on track. Dorsey’s personnel staff have uncovered several draft gems over the past few seasons, helping them reach the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. The Chiefs have never finished lower than second place with Reid and Dorsey in the building together.
There’s been a lot of early-season talk about the new Alex Smith, especially after he lit up New England for 368 yards and four touchdowns. It’s more accurate to say this is simply a better version of the same guy. Anybody who thought Smith was going to continue generating crazy numbers on a weekly basis was living a fantasy. The pragmatic signal caller who showed up this past Sunday is more of what the Chiefs ultimately need right now.
That 42-27 win over New England was something to behold, make no mistake. Just as impressive was the way Kansas City battled through adversity against an Eagles team that surprisingly made for a much tougher opponent.