Justin Houston released by Chiefs, immediately linked to Patriots

John Tomase
March 11, 2019 - 10:07 am

The Patriots are on the verge of acquiring one of the best pass rushers on the market in Michael Bennett. Could Kansas City sackmaster Justin Houston soon join him?

The Chiefs decided to part ways with their four-time Pro Bowler on Sunday when they couldn't find a taker for his $15.2 million contract. They cut him rather than incur $21 million in cap hits, saving $14 million.

Though Houston isn't the player he was in 2014, when he recorded a Chiefs-record 22 sacks, he was still good for nine sacks and five forced fumbles last season in Kansas City's 3-4 defense. With the Chiefs switching to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Houston became expendable for more than just salary reasons.

Could he land in New England? ESPN's Field Yates sees a connection, noting that Patriots pass rush coach Joe Kim worked with Houston in K.C. There will obviously be a robust market for his services, given the premium NFL teams place on pressuring the quarterback, but with Trey Flowers potentially departing in free agency, the arrival of Houston would soften the blow.