For all the talk about what the Kansas City Chiefs have (and have not) done in free agency, they managed to get the most important player locked up late Wednesday night. That’s when word broke that Tamba Hali, the AFC’s reigning sack king, signed a new five-year deal worth $60 million, including $35 million guaranteed.
Hali’s contract surpasses the one given to Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson ($32 million guaranteed) but falls short of the extension the Dallas Cowboys gave to LB DeMarcus Ware ($40 million guaranteed).
Since veteran free agents would not be able to practice until Thursday, Hali could end up not missing any practice time at all if the deal is made official before practice.
With the Chiefs lacking any legitimate pass rusher other than Hali, this is a deal that needed to get done. Other than Hali, the player with the most sacks returning to the Kansas City defense is DE Wallace Gilberry with seven. The rest of the defense only managed 16.5.
If unsigned third round pick Justin Houston ever makes it to camp, he could team up with Gilberry to finally take some heat off of Hali. Now that this deal is done, hopefully that means GM Scott Pioli can focus his attention to getting the lone draft pick holdout signed.
Assuming Hali is able to take the field on Thursday, that will mean the only starter missing from practice will be CB Brandon Carr. The restricted free agent has yet to sign his tender and report to training camp in St. Joseph.