Tamba Hits Big! … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Joseph, Missouri

As a young boy, living in the wilderness of his native Liberia, hiding with his family from marauding gangs of soldiers and surviving on cassava root and cabbage, Tamba Hali could never have conceived of where life would lead him.

Now, 17 years after leaving his homeland as a 10-year boy, Hali will sign today the richest contract in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs. Cassava root and cabbage are faint memories.

Hali and the Chiefs agreed on a 5-year, $60 million contract on Wednesday and he’ll be on the Missouri Western State University campus Thursday to sign the paper work. The deal is the richest in Chiefs history because it includes $35 million in guaranteed money. That’s more than recent first round draft picks S Eric Berry and DE Tyson Jackson received and more than QB Matt Cassel has in his contract.

Here’s a look at the richest contracts in Chiefs history:

 Year  Player



 Guaranteed Money

Becomes FA in


Tamba Hali


$60 million

$35 million



Eric Berry


$60 million

$34 million



Tyson Jackson


$57 million

$31 million



Matt Cassel


$63 million

$28 million



Glenn Dorsey


$33 million

$23 million


It’s also more guaranteed money than Carolina DE Charles Johnson got last month when he signed a 6-year, $76 million deal with $32 million in guaranteed money.

Go back several years to the deal that Jared Allen signed with Minnesota, after he was traded by the Chiefs back in 2008. Allen’s contract was 6 years, $73.26 million dollars with $31 million in guaranteed money.

Heaven knows what Hall of Famers like Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier or Derrick Thomas would have been paid if they were playing today or today’s wage scale was active during their careers. The lottery of birth makes Hali the richest Chiefs defender in history, just as it’s quite likely that he’ll lose that distinction sometime in the future when somebody else hits for a big pay day.

Hali had been wearing the Chiefs franchise player designation since March. That effectively took him of the open free agency market while guaranteeing him $10 million and change for the 2011 season.

But Hali did not want to play for the franchise tender and then become a free agent again in 2012. Too many things can happen in football, especially when a player goes at the pace Hali has displayed since becoming the team’s first-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. He wanted to work something out this year.

Obviously, the Chiefs had the same desires, and that make sense. The price of players is only going to go up in the future – that’s a fact of life in the most prosperous sports league in the country. With a team that has the cap space and cash available it only makes sense to do a long-term deal.

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Hali’s agent Brian Mackler got the deal done. How it breaks down on a yearly basis and how the guarantee gets paid are unknown. But make no mistake Hali will get more money than he ever dreamed of having, whether that was as a child hiding in the wilderness of Liberia, or when he escaped to the remarkable world that is the New York-New Jersey metro to live with his father. When he spent four years living in a dorm room at Penn State, he never could have conceived of being able to walk into any store in the mall and buying whatever he wanted on that given day.

Tamba Hali earned it all.

20 Responses to “Tamba Hits Big! … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 4, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Great news!!!!! That should give Pioli a clear idea on the cap to be able to sign more players like McClain. I hope we can find another LB and OT.

  • August 4, 2011  - merwin in ny says:

    Good news, the team is shaping up nicely, hopefully Brandon Carr signs soon. How nice is the rookie cap, with all but one signed, and only four picks in all NFL teams, should have had the cap with the last CBA agreement!

  • August 4, 2011  - brad says:

    I’m happy for Hali. I can’t think of anyone in the league who deserves a slice of the American dream. And it was about time that the regime sent the message out to the team that hard work and consistent performance will be rewarded with dollars.

  • August 4, 2011  - ED says:

    Tamba back congrads on him and his new contract. Now lets go get another AFC west crown and a couple playoff wins

  • August 4, 2011  - Chief_Elmo says:

    Thanks Bob! Tamba deserves and will earn every $ of that contract. This was low-risk $ for a high character player. Couldn’t be happier that Tamba will be a Chief for years to come!!!

  • August 4, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    I’ll bet Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson are happy, too. Hali was a better pick than most realized. Good coaching helped, but guys with “non-stop motors” always have a leg up. This is great news.

  • August 4, 2011  - Tracy says:

    Tamba certainly deserves every nickel of this contract. Perhaps he could mentor young Mr. Houston if, as and when he gets a clue.

  • August 4, 2011  - txchief says:

    It would appear that the Chiefs were saving up for Hali, and (hopefully) Carr. There will probably be a few bucks left over to improve the team and add some depth. I don’t believe that the Hunts and Pioli are in the NFL to lose. Not many Super Bowls have been bought by signing overpriced free agents from other teams. Just look at the Raiders.

  • August 4, 2011  - Rob says:

    How sick are those rookie salaries. Look at that. I realize they were all early 1st round picks but… there is a reason the slotting system went over so well.

  • August 4, 2011  - SG says:

    “Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Hali’s agent Brian Mackler got the deal done.”

    Don Pioli gets well-deserved kudos for getting this done.

  • August 4, 2011  - el cid says:

    This is what I wanted from the end of last season. This makes the upcoming season seem brighter. I give Pioli tons of credit for getting it done before it became a further distraction.

  • August 4, 2011  - Niblick says:

    He was a first round pick in 2006 , not 2007. This is great news on Hali. I hope Carr signs his tender or they get a long term deal shortly.

  • August 4, 2011  - SG says:

    “This is what I wanted from the end of last season.”

    Who’s next on the shopping list?

  • August 4, 2011  - Rick says:

    How is this, and the other moves KC has made, possible???

    I mean, I’ve been told repeatedly that the Chiefs are too cheap for a move such as this.

  • August 4, 2011  - Niblick says:

    I just read from 610 sports that Houston signed a four year deal per league sources.

  • August 4, 2011  - Adam says:

    Yeah and we got Carr signed on his rfa contract. I had suspicions that everything might have just kind of getting sand bagged a little bit since the real full team practices weren’t starting until today anyways.

  • August 4, 2011  - ED says:

    Finally Houston signs his deal which is the same amount who would’ve got last week what took so darn long Bob?

  • August 4, 2011  - el cid says:

    Short of a really BIG name QB or some glamor type, this team seems solid. So, I satisfied, although I would not be jumping with joy are some backup to a backup/

  • August 4, 2011  - Rob says:

    Um… what?

  • August 4, 2011  - JB says:

    Hmmmm we can only hope he doesn’t get Larry Johnson disease and play like he has $35M of it-doesn’t-matter-how-I-produce money…hmmm kind of like a government job

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