After extending the contract of LB Derrick Johnson, the Chiefs are guaranteed to have most of their defense under contract through the end of last season. One of the exceptions is arguably the team’s best player on that side of the ball, Tamba Hali. The Star reports that is unlikely to change before the offseason.
“Tamba has stated to me on numerous occasions that he’d like to retire a Kansas City Chief,” said Brian Mackler, Hali’s agent. “I had discussions with the Chiefs at the beginning of the season, and we both agreed we’d wait to see how the season progressed for the Chiefs and for Tamba. The ball is in their court.”
General manager Scott Pioli said team policy is to not discuss contract negotiations publicly. And coach Todd Haley talked only generally about the strategy of signing key players to contract extensions.
“Without getting into the specifics of any individual person,” Haley said, “I think you’ll see that occur as we continue through this process of trying to become a good team and then a really good team year in and year out.
“(Hali is) a high-effort, hard-working guy that cares, and those are guys that I’ll take on the team any day of the week, and he’s got some ability, too.”
“Tamba’s a relentless worker,” linebacker Mike Vrabel said. “No one is going to play harder than Tamba.”
If you told me before the season that Pioli would extend only two players on this defense, I know that Johnson and Andy Studebaker wouldn’t have finished in the top 5. Even though he isn’t due to be a free agent this offseason, Flowers would have been No. 1 on the list with Hali right behind him.
We all remember what happened the last time Kansas City traded their only pass rusher when Jared Allen was shipped to Minnesota. If the Chiefs let Hali get away before next season they will most likely have to hope one of the better pass rushers falls to them in the draft. Then as a defense you have to wait for a rookie to adapt to the speed of the NFL, something that will no doubt slow down the Chiefs “process”.