Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali led the AFC in sacks last season, taking down quarterbacks 14½ times. On Wednesday night, he took down something even greater.
Hali and the Chiefs agreed to a long-term deal, keeping the Pro Bowler in Kansas City for another five years. In total, the contract is worth $60 million, with $35 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network and ESPN.
Before the lockout started, the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Hali, which would have kept him in K.C. in 2011 with a salary of the average of the five highest-paid linebackers. That was expected to be slightly more than $10 million. Instead he'll average $12 million for the next five seasons.
The Chiefs were projected to be well under the salary cap agreed to in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. With the CBA set to be ratified on Thursday, forcing teams to be near the cap, the team was able to add salary while also locking up a 27-year old linebacker who is one of the best players in the league at his position.
The way we see it
This doesn't come as a major surprise, but it is great news for Hali, the Chiefs and their fans. As the top pass rusher in their 3-4 defense, Hali is one of the building blocks for the team's defense, along with SS Eric Berry. Keeping him in K.C. for the next half-decade will ensure the defense has playmakers all over the field.
After winning the AFC West last year, Kansas City GM Scott Pioli is working to ensure the team remains competitive for a long time. Moves like this are a step in that direction.