The Chiefs have released veteran linebacker Justin Houston, the team announced Sunday.
Houston, 30, a third-round pick in 2011, has spent all eight NFL seasons in Kansas City and has been a cornerstone of the Chiefs’ defense. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Houston registered 78.5 sacks for the Chiefs, including an NFL-high 22 sacks in 2014.
But the six-year, $101 million contract Houston signed in 2015 made it difficult for the Chiefs to keep him, and they had been seeking a trade, general manager Brett Veach recently told the Kansas City Star.
By releasing him, the Chiefs free up $14 million in cap space, with $7.1 million in dead salary.
“Justin Houston is a great player,” Veach told the Kansas City Star at the NFL combine. “Our deal is to obviously acquire and maintain as many great players as you can.
“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.”