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Chiefs sign Justin Houston to long-term deal

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Deadlines spur action.

The Chiefs and franchised-tagged outside linebacker Justin Houston nailed down a long-term deal before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, the team announced.

Houston inked a six-year, $101 million deal that includes $52.5 million in guarantees, NFL Media's Albert Breer and Rand Getlin report. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport adds that Houston's signing bonus is $20.5 million and his contract includes $32.5 million fully guaranteed.

The contract is the richest deal in Chiefs' history and largest for any linebacker.

"I want to be known as one of the best to ever play the game," Houston said on a conference call Wednesday. "That's my motivation."

Houston was reported to want J.J. Watt-type money. He got it, earning slightly more than Watt's six-year, $100 million deal that came with $30.9 million guaranteed.

Houston's deal is also the second-largest contract ever for a defensive player, behind only Ndamukong Suh. Houston becomes one of five non-quarterbacks to make $16 million per season -- Watt, Suh, Calvin Johnson and Mario Williams.

Houston earned 22 sacks in 2014, falling just half a sack shy of the NFL single-season record.

While Houston goes overlooked by his colleagues -- No. 27 in the player's 2015 Top 100 list -- and most of the general populous, his new contract empathically exhibits his worth to the Chiefs and proclaims his status as one of the premiere sack masters in the NFL.

The 26-year-old plays a pivotal role in a Chiefs defense that relies on pressuring the quarterback with its front seven. With Houston's future secure, he can roll into 2015 with confidence, chasing Michael Strahan's single-season sack record and backing up his proclamation that he is part of the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL.

That is debatable, but Houston has a strong case to make as the best linebacker in football. He's underrated against the run in addition to his pass rushing prowess. And now he's getting paid for it.

"Once you get paid, it's not like you won the lottery," Houston said Wednesday. "You still got work to do. You still have to prove yourself. You can still get better each and every day so that's my goal."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses recent news from around the league, including the new contracts for Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas.

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