The Super Bowl runner-up Kansas City Chiefs were expected to make a splash this offseason by revamping its battered offensive line. While the team has mostly delivered on that speculation, the plan hasn’t unfolded as many had anticipated even though plenty of big names have already been involved.
Beginning with the surprising releases of starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz on March 11, Kansas City’s frontline rehaul has so far included the additions of three new potential starters up the middle including prized left guard Joe Thuney, along with former Pro Bowler Kyle Long and Super Bowl starter Austin Blythe.
The Chiefs were also “in it until the end” on San Fransico 49ers Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams before he returned to the Bay Area on a six-year, $138 million megadeal last month, leaving K.C. with a gaping hole on Patrick Mahomes’ blindside heading into the NFL Draft.
The latest Chiefs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Chiefs newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Chiefs!
NFL Execs Not yet Sold on Chiefs’ Rebuilt Offensive Line
In a recent column for The Athletic, Mike Sando asked NFL evaluators and executives for their thoughts on how all 32 teams approached free agency, including major signings like Thuney. In the Chiefs’ case, the addition of the best available interior offensive lineman — while a major improvement — isn’t being viewed as a fix-all for the AFC champions heading into the 2021 season.
“You get as many good players as you can, but what’s available determines so much,” one evaluator told Sando. “I don’t know that I feel like, ‘Oh, wow, that fixes things to have Joe Thuney on the Chiefs.’”
The former New England Patriots stalwart, whom another scout described as a “consummate pro” and “lunchpail-type guy,” should immediately provide some stability at his natural left guard spot, where Kansas City leaned on a combination of Kelechi Osemele and later Nick Allegretti in 2020.
“I mean, they’ve got talent, there’s no question, and they’re going to win because (Patrick) Mahomes can extend plays and make unbelievable throws,” an anonymous executive said to Sando. “But if you get banged up, which is going to continue to happen with him if they don’t do a better job of protection, it affects you later in the season.”
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!