Chiefs release veteran LB Justin Houston to free cap space

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston, left, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

The Kansas City Chiefs have released veteran linebacker Justin Houston after they were unable to work out a trade, freeing up $14 million in much-needed salary cap space.

The 30-year-old Houston signed a $101 million, six-year deal with the Chiefs in 2015 that was at the time a record for a defensive player. But Houston has been slowed by injuries the past four seasons, and has been unable to replicate the 22-sack season that helped him land the contract.

He was due $15.25 million this season. The Chiefs will take on $7.1 million in dead money.

Houston departs Kansas City having started 96 games and appearing in 102 over eight seasons. He had 78½ sacks to trail only Derrick Thomas, Tamba Hali and Neil Smith in franchise history.

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