Chiefs smart to start Charles negotiations

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Running back Jamaal Charles publicly revealed an interesting tidbit after recently signing a two-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. Charles indicated the process started last fall when he was approached by the Chiefs, even though his deal had two full seasons remaining.

Smart move by the Chiefs to be proactive. The entire world knew Charles, who was scheduled to make less money this year than 13 other NFL running backs, was underpaid. By engaging Charles, the Chiefs were able to engender some goodwill with their star running back, who took less money in the extension than he probably could have squeezed from the Chiefs.

“Clearly Jamaal Charles is a special player and one of the greatest players already in his young career in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs,’’ Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in an interview after Saturday’s training camp practice at Missouri Western State University. “We had two years left on his existing deal. The structure of the contract gave us the opportunity to approach him and get an extension that was good for both parties. Naturally, he was looking for an increase in compensation which we felt based on his production was warranted. We wanted to tie him down for another couple of years as a Kansas City Chief. Hopefully he plays the majority of his career as a Chief.’’

The Chiefs weren’t similarly proactive with another one of their players in a similar situation. Linebacker Justin Houston, who is scheduled to make $1.4 million this year, has also outplayed his contract. He stayed away from offseason practice in an effort to spur negotiations but reported to training camp without a new contract.

Houston and quarterback Alex Smith are in the final season of their contracts.

“We’ll get to that at the right time,’’ Hunt said of Houston’s contract. “He does have one year left on his contract, like Alex Smith does. Both of those guys are important to the organization and we would anticipate that process will follow due course over the next six months or so.’’