In a process that has spanned over several months, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to reach an agreement on a long-term extension with linebacker Justin Houston, which will keep the three-time Pro Bowler in a Chiefs uniform for the foreseeable future.
The deadline for the Chiefs to reach an extension with Houston was by Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT, as Houston was designated as the team's franchise player back in March. If a deal hadn't been agreed upon by the deadline, they would have had to wait until after the season to sign him to an extension.
But general manager John Dorsey and company were able to get it done in time.
"You really have to applaud the leadership of (Chairman and CEO) Clark Hunt because in reality this wouldn't have happened without his leadership," Dorsey stated in an exclusive interview Wednesday afternoon. "That's how we do this thing is Clark will set the vision and from my position, I have to execute that vision."
Dorsey executed that vision and established the foundation of the Chiefs defense for the next several years.
Houston has proven to be one of the best defensive players in the NFL over the past several seasons. With an elite combination of size, speed, quickness, functional strength, power and technique, Houston gives the Chiefs everything they need on the field at outside linebacker.
"He's got to be accounted for," Dorsey explained. "If I'm the offensive tackle, I have to worry about not only his strength and power, but his explosiveness around the edge. What I like about his play is he's consistently trying to hustle to the ball.
"I've seen a really nice improvement in his run defense, and as young as he is, I continue to see improvement there."
Because of Houston's all-around abilities, Dorsey knew the process to sign the 26-year-old superstar was going to take time and patience.
"Like I told [Houston], patience pays off," Dorsey explained. "He's a man of his word and I told him I'm a man of my word. I also can't applaud his agent enough, Joel Segal. He did a great job as well in this thing.
"I just think that when you have a player of this magnitude, you have to do a deal of this magnitude."
In order to make the kind of commitment to a player that the Chiefs just showed with Houston, it takes more than just production on the field.
It takes all of the intangible boxes to be checked off as well.
"He's taken a leadership role and is committed to the game of football," Dorsey said. "I think his teammates look upon him as one of the leaders. I think his play on the field speaks for itself. I think he's evolved with his leadership in my years here.
"That's a natural progression because of age and familiarity. But it's real, and the guys understand what real is."
Photos of all of Justin Houston's sacks this season
Houston is a true leader and it's recognized by those who spend any time around him.
"He backs it up with his play on the field," Dorsey said. "He's very good off the field. He's a father, he's a husband. I think that all of his value structures are in line with the Kansas City Chiefs value structure."
There are a lot of people behind the scenes that put a lot of hours into making this deal happen, and they're not often recognized for the work they do in making sure things fit from a business and salary cap perspective.
"You have to recognize Trip MacCracken and Brandt Tilis for all of their hard work," Dorsey said of getting this deal done.
It was a team effort to sign Houston and it will be a team effort to reach the goals this Chiefs team has set for themselves.
"All along we've had different phases of our offseason plan. This happens to be the last part of the plan," Dorsey explained. "I think we've had a pretty good offseason. Now we get to training camp with a positive attitude. Now the guys have to come together as a team. "Let's pick up where we left off. Let's move ahead and let's forge ahead and capture the AFC West."