Hali is one of the best pass rushers of all time. But at 34 years old, he is clearly out of his prime.
Tamba Hali is one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately for him, his time with the only NFL team he’s played for is over. The Chiefs released their longtime linebacker after 12 years with the franchise, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Since the Chiefs are trying to clear some cap space, they are in the midst of a roster overhaul. They already released Darrelle Revis and safety Ron Parker and announced linebacker Derrick Johnson will not return. On top of that, Kansas City traded quarterback Alex Smith to Washington. There’s also a possibility that Justin Houston could get released, but that wouldn’t make sense for Kansas City.
Others like Allen Bailey, Rob Parker, and Daniel Sorensen are players who could be playing in different uniforms in 2018.
Why did the Chiefs release Hali? Hali, 34, started the 2017 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) due to an undisclosed injury, which caused him to miss training camp and the preseason. He started practicing in early November, and Kansas City elevated Hali to the active roster Nov. 4 — a day before the Chiefs’ Week 9 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
He only registered one tackle in five games. In the past two seasons, he’s had just 3.5 sacks. Hali was once one of the best defensive players in the NFL, but Father Time caught up to him.
The Chiefs are saving $ 7.7 million by cutting Hali, who carried a $ 9.4 million cap hit. This was a move the Chiefs had to make.
What’s next for the Chiefs? Kansas City will likely acquire a young linebacker to fill Hali’s spot.
The only option they have is to let one of their in-house options like Frank Zombo and Dee Ford compete for the job. Zombo, 30, racked up 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2017. Ford, a first-round pick in 2014, battled a back injury last season — which led to him missing 10 games and landing on injured reserve.
What’s next for Hali? Hali, a five-time Pro Bowler, still has some gas left in his tank, and he could return to form in 2018. He’s a pure pass rusher with 89.5 sacks and 33 forced fumbles in his career.
At this point in his career, he probably wants to sign with a Super Bowl contender. He may not receive a lucrative contract, but a team could throw him a one-year “prove it” deal or a two-year contact. Either way, Hali won’t be on the open market for long if he wants to keep playing.
There’s also the possibility of retirement. Hali told Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star that he doesn’t want to talk about retiring, but he doesn’t want to avoid the question.
“I don’t want to say I’m not gonna play, because the way I feel two weeks out of football, I’ll probably be ready to play,” Hali said. On the other hand, he said he’s “leaning more towards (being with) my family.”
Hali has options. But if he wants to call it quits and hang up his cleats, he should be proud of his fantastic career.