End of an era: Chiefs cut veteran LB Justin Houston

The Justin Houston era is over in Kansas City.

The Chiefs announced Sunday they've released the veteran outside linebacker after eight seasons.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach telegraphed the end of Houston's run in K.C. last week during the NFL Scouting Combine when he did not deny reports that the team was shopping the linebacker in trade talks.

After not finding a trade partner for Houston's $15.25 million base salary, the Chiefs will part ways with the pass rusher ahead of free agency. Kansas City saves $14 million on the salary cap with the move, leaving $7.1 million in dead money. With K.C. needing the cap space for younger pass rusher Dee Ford, the move to cut Houston comes as little surprise.

Shedding a mainstay of their defense is the Chiefs' latest move to get younger on that side of the ball heading into 2019 under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

The 30-year-old pass rusher still has plenty left in the tank and can be a difference maker for a contender, as he showed down the stretch and in the postseason last season. In 12 regular season games in 2018, Houston compiled nine sacks and 37 tackles; he added two postseason sacks. For his career in K.C., Houston gobbled up 78.5 QB takedowns, including a monstrous 22-sack 2014 campaign.

Houston might not recoup the $15 million he was set to make from Kansas City this season, but with several of would-be free agents staying put, via the franchise tag or extension (such as Brandon Graham's new contract last week), the veteran QB-hunter will have a viable market in a league in constant search of pressure producers.

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