The KC Chiefs are clearly planning to revamp their offensive line in 2021 and that’s been made evident by their moves this offseason.
While not surprising, the decision to release not just one, but both of the starting tackles is a ballsy one for the Kansas City Chiefs. With the release of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, the Chiefs don’t have a tackle on the roster at the moment who have consistently started at tackle in the NFL. With an investment like Patrick Mahomes standing behind those tackles, this is pretty important.
Not only are Fisher and Schwartz out the door, but now it appears that starting center Austin Reiter won’t be returning to KC either. While Reiter wasn’t worth a boatload of cash, the decision to move on from him now means that three of the five starters on the Chiefs’ offensive line last year — at least at the beginning of the year — won’t be on the team when the 2021 season kicks off in September.
With these moves and also the decision to not bring back Reiter, the Chiefs are going to have their work cut out for them when fixing the offensive line in 2021. The o-line, while not the only reason the Chiefs were blown out in Super Bowl LV, was a liability in that game and we saw that without a good unit upfront, Mahomes can’t bring the team back in his typical magical fashion.
The KC Chiefs are going to have a lot of work to do in upgrading the offensive line.
As of now, the Chiefs have these offensive linemen on their roster for 2021:
- Nick Allegretti
- Yasir Durant
- Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
- Lucas Niang
- Martinas Rankin
Andrew Wylie is a restricted free agent and he probably returns to the team considering how valuable swing players are, especially on the offensive line.
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Out of this bunch, Allegretti played well at left guard and could return there for 2021 unless the team decides to move him to center, which is where he was listed as a backup during his first two seasons. LDT is obviously going to return to play right guard, which is where he’s played since 2015.
Niang is likely a lock to win one of the starting tackle positions and Rankin could be an option at the other tackle spot if he plays well this summer. Durant is probably nothing more than a depth piece.
With these moves being made, one has to think that Brett Veach has something up his sleeve. Whether that means he’s going to go for broke and bring someone big in through free agency or trade up into the top 15 to draft one of the best offensive linemen available, who knows? But Veach is a good general manager and he wouldn’t have made these decisions if he didn’t have a solid plan in mind when it comes to replacing them.
Expect the Chiefs to be aggressive in the coming months in trying to build the best possible offensive line to protect Patrick Mahomes. Obviously, the circumstances in Super Bowl LV were unique, as injuries decimated the o-line, but that can’t happen again. It cost the Chiefs one Super Bowl victory and it can’t cost them another.
It’ll be fun watching Brett Veach work his magic this offseason, as it has been since he took over as the Chiefs’ general manager. Here’s to hoping he hits the jackpot when it comes to rebuilding this demolished offensive line.