KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tamba Hali may spend his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after all.
The 32-year-old Hali and the Chiefs agreed to a three-year contract Tuesday that keeps him off the free-agent market, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Terms of the new contract were not available.
It was reached just days after the Chiefs voided four years that had been added to Hali’s previous one-year contract. Those voidable years allowed the Chiefs to spread out his signing bonus and create additional salary cap space last season, but it was generally assumed that the Chiefs would void them.
That meant Hali would have become a free agent Wednesday for the first time.
Hali is coming off his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl, despite practicing on a limited basis much of the season because of a troublesome knee that required off-season surgery. He also had a broken thumb late in the year that forced him to play with his hand heavily wrapped.
Still, the Chiefs’ former first-round pick finished with 6 1-2 sacks while starting 14 of the 15 games he played. That gave him 86 for his career, matching Neil Smith for second-most in franchise history.
Hali floated the possibility of retirement a few times during the season, but decided he wanted to keep playing if his health allowed it. And all along, he said that he wanted to stay in Kansas City, where he went from relatively unknown draft pick out of Penn State to one of the franchise’s cornerstones.
"When you look at Tamba, I mean the sacrifice that Tamba made because the Kansas City Chiefs are very important for him — I understand that," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said after the season. "I couldn’t be prouder of … the season he had for this organization."