about the team’s intentions in free agency"The Kansas City Chiefs — as many expected — released outside linebacker Justin Houston on Sunday.Here are some quick thoughts on what it means.1. The market for a player of Houston’s age and abilities is soft.This isn’t meant as a dig at Houston. It is instead to say that if the Chiefs could have found a team that was willing to take on his $15.25 million salary in 2019 — as well as his $17.5 million salary in 2020 — the team would be announcing a trade deal instead of an outright release.There have been a lot of conversations in recent days about what the Chiefs could have obtained in a trade for Houston.But let’s be real: if the Chiefs were willing to release Houston outright — which we now know they were willing to do — they’d have taken any draft pick in exchange for him.The plain facts are that Houston’s contract is just a little too pricey Super Bowl Darwin Thompson Jersey , his age is just a little too advanced and his recent production is just a little bit too far off — or some combination of any (or all) of those factors — to make another team give up a draft pick to get him before free agency begins.Make no mistake: Justin Houston will play for another NFL team in 2019; let’s not forget that Houston was rated as PFF’s 80th best player last season.He may be a step slower than he used to be, but he’s still in the top tier of NFL players.But other teams knew the situation and therefore knew the Chiefs would have to release Houston early to have room to operate during free agency.They acted accordingly.2. The Chiefs must be planning an immediate move (or moves) in free agency.releasing Houston wouldn’t be available until June 2.So the Chiefs must believe they will need this cap relief right away — which strongly suggests they will be adding players in free agency.Starting on Monday, they’ll (legally) be able to negotiate with players who will become free agents on Wednesday, and in those negotiations,it will be useful for everyone involved to know the Chiefs have cap room.Now... whether the Chiefs are planning a big move in free agency — or several small ones — is hard to predict.But Houston’s release at this moment makes it clear the Chiefs intend to do something.3. The evolving situation with Dee Ford could have something to do with Houston’s release at this time.We’ve been hearing all weekend that the Chiefs have been in negotiations with two teams — the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers — over a trade for franchise-tagged Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford.On Sunday, the tea leaves appeared to be pointing to Green Bay as a more likely trading partner for Ford, but if such a deal is in the works, it is apparently not done yet.As NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport explained on Sunday, it might be that the teams have already agreed on trade compensation and are now working out the details on a new contract for Ford in Green Bay.A trade for Ford would have immediately opened roughly the same amount of cap space ($15.4 million) as releasing Houston.So if a deal for Ford was already in the books, the Chiefs could go into Monday with about the same cap room as releasing Houston — which they might have preferred to do to keep their options open; they could always release Houston later.But if a deal for Ford is going to take another day (or more) to work out, the Chiefs might have been in a position that they had to release Houston in order to be sure they’d have the cap room they think they’re going to need as the legal tampering period opens.Or... it could also be that the Chiefs have always planned to release Houston and chose Sunday to do it.We’ll know a lot more in the coming days.It’s all likely to make much more sense when we see exactly what the Chiefs are planning to do.So hang on — it’s going to be a busy week! KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense had heard the chorus of critics all season long Darwin Thompson Jersey nfl draft , the ones that claimed their sieve-like line and shaky backfield would spoil young superstar Patrick Mahomes and cost them a chance to chase their first Super Bowl appearance in decades.Well, that defense is a big reason why the Chiefs are one step away.With persistent snow turning Arrowhead Stadium into a winter wonderland, the Chiefs successfully shut down Andrew Luck and the potent Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.Mahomes and the rest of their own high-powered offense took care of the rest, rolling to a 31-13 victory in the divisional round to end 25 years of playoff frustration.“We’re such a different team,” said Mahomes, who threw for 278 yards while running for a score. “We have such young players. We have such confidence we’re going to win every single game.”Damien Williams ran through snow and muck for 129 yards and another score, and Tyreek Hill had 72 yards receiving and a touchdown run, as the Chiefs beat Indianapolis for the first time in five playoff meetings to earn their first AFC title game appearance since January 1994.The AFC West champions will play the winner of Sunday’s game between the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots next weekend for a spot in the Super Bowl in Atlanta.“We wanted to light up the city,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “We didn’t want to take the road down memory lane.”Andrew Luck was held to 203 yards passing for the Colts, while Marlon Mack was a non-factor on the ground. He had 46 yards rushing before leaving late in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.“Was not expecting it to end today,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “We knew we were going up against a very good team, a very well-coached team. It’s hard to lose. It’s hard to lose when you’ve come this far with the team that we have and the guys that we have Xavier Williams Jersey , so credit to the Chiefs.“They outcoached us, they outplayed us,” Reich said. “We just gave them too many opportunities.”The Chiefs set out to change history from the opening minutes, when they forced a three-and-out and then waltzed right over a Colts defense that nearly shut out the Texans a week ago. Mahomes and Co. scored on their first three possessions, then again just before halftime, to take a 24-7 lead.If there was any question whether this would be Kansas City’s day, it was answered when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 23-yard field-goal try off the upright just before halftime. It was the first time in 22 postseason attempts that he’d missed from that close.Not that the Chiefs thought they had it wrapped up.They’ve had bigger playoff meltdowns against the Colts.There was the 10-7 loss in which Lin Elliott missed three field goals when the Chiefs were the No. 1 seed, and the loss at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003 in which nobody punted. Five years ago, they blew a 38-10 second-half lead against Luck and the Colts to spoil Andy Reid’s first season.Not this time.Not with this Kansas City quarterback.After shattering nearly every franchise passing record, Mahomes picked up right where he left off in his regular-season finale. He led the Chiefs on touchdown drives of 90 and 70 yards to open the game, quickly identified a favorite target in Travis Kelce, and shook off a banged-up knee to scramble for a touchdown late in the first half to give his team a big cushion.Of course Patrick Mahomes Jersey , the Chiefs (13-4) didn’t need it the way their defense was playing.The Colts (11-7) went three-and-out on their first four possessions, were outgained 185-12 in the first quarter, and Luck didn’t complete a pass until he found T.Y Hilton early in the second.Their lone bright spot came when Zach Paschal recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.Even when the Colts caught a break and Sammy Watkins fumbled the ball to them late in the third quarter, they were quick to give it back. Dee Ford stripped Luck and fellow linebacker Justin Houston plopped on the ball, ruining another red-zone opportunity.“It seemed like the rushers were getting there all night,” Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller said. “Guys sticking coverage, playing good technique, good eyes and things like that.”The Colts finally scored an offensive touchdown with 5:31 left in the game. But in the perfect summation of their lousy afternoon, their erstwhile star kicker missed the extra point.By that point, the party in the stands already had begun.The Chiefs had lost six straight home playoff games, including heartbreakers to Pittsburgh and Tennessee the past two years. But a proud franchise that won its only Super Bowl title with Len Dawson in 1970, and last played for a spot behind Joe Montana Mitch Morse Jersey , is once more one step away.“I’m just happy for these guys in this locker room,” Kelce said. “Playoff wins are hard to come by, let alone wins in the NFL. So, I mean, it’s just exciting for us to be able to play next week.”100<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaSNOWBALL FIGHTReid was summoned to the corner of the stadium during the two-minute warning in the first half to implore fans to stop throwing snowballs on the field. Earlier in the half, one almost hit Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez while he was kicking.INJURIESColts: Center Ryan Kelly (knee) left late in the fourth quarter. … FS Malik Hooker (foot) and DE Tyquan Lewis (knee) were inactive, while SS Mike Mitchell (calf) was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. That left the Colts defense without some key pieces.Chiefs: Safety Eric Berry (heel) and running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) were inactive, though Berry — the team’s emotional leader — broke down the pregame huddle in the north end zone.UP NEXTChiefs: Await the Chargers-Patriots winner in the AFC title game.Colts: Begin preparing for April’s draft.