Four NFL seasons, all with the Chiefs. Turns 26 in July.
Chiefs career: Hudson, the Chiefs’ second-round draft pick in 2011, became the starting center the next season, though he played in just three games in 2012 because of a broken leg. He hasn’t missed a game since, though the Chiefs opted to give him some rest in the final game of the 2013 season.
Argument for keeping Hudson: It would be tough for the Chiefs to watch Hudson walk out the door. This is the kind of player they should build their team around. He’s home-grown, he’s still just 25 and he was by many accounts, including the Pro Football Focus rankings, one of the best centers in the NFL last season. The Chiefs’ offensive line suffered from attrition through free agency last year and Hudson’s departure would only make the problem worse. The Chiefs drafted Eric Kush in the sixth round in 2013 but, after playing in three games as a rookie, a healthy Kush didn’t get into a game last season. The Chiefs would be moving into largely unknown territory by making Kush their starting center in 2015.
Argument for letting Hudson go: Linebacker Justin Houston is, and should be, this year’s big ticket internal free agent for the Chiefs. With what looks to be a tight salary-cap situation, the Chiefs probably couldn’t and shouldn’t pay Hudson what he could get on the open market. They drafted Kush two years ago for a reason and if they are uncomfortable with that alternative, others will exist in free agency and the draft.
What should happen with Hudson: This has to be a difficult decision for the Chiefs because Hudson has the look of someone who will be a solid NFL lineman for several more seasons. But the Chiefs have a much less expensive alternative in Kush or they can find one elsewhere. As painful as that choice might be, the Chiefs are better off spending their limited dollars elsewhere and letting Hudson become an unrestricted free agent.