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The Chiefs are using NFL free agency to overhaul their offensive line. Did Kansas City do enough to keep Patrick Mahomes upright this offseason?
No Chiefs fans can accuse their front office of playing it safe in free agency. Cutting Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz sent a clear signal that Kansas City was ready to rebuild their offensive line. Finding replacements in free agency was always going to be huge for Andy Reid and his coaching staff.
Give the Chiefs credit for making the right decision on Fisher. His injured Achilles puts his entire 2021 season in jeopardy. It didn’t make any sense for Kansas City to pay him big money and hope for a swift recovery. Cutting him goes down as the organizations’ best free agent decision to date.
The decision to let Schwartz go was not nearly as clear-cut. Back surgery limited him to just six games a season ago, but he hadn’t missed a start in his career previously. The fact that he projects to be ready to go when training camp rolls around also makes this deal questionable from the Chiefs’ perspective. They get some benefit of the doubt for having better access to his medical records than anyone else, but this decision could come back to haunt Kansas City if they don’t find a quality tackle capable of replacing Schwartz by the time Week 1 rolls around.
The biggest proactive move the Chiefs have made in free agency to date is to land Joe Thuney on a massive five-year, $80 million contract. That’s not spectacular value for the talented guard, but it rates as a solidly above signing by Brett Veach and his staff. Giving Mahomes a clean pocket is a requirement for Kansas City’s offense and Thuney’s pass-blocking on the interior will give the Chiefs a nice boost moving forward.
Kansas City Chiefs 2021 Free Agency Grade
Kansas City’s offseason grades gets dinged slightly for gambling on Kyle Long. Giving him a one-year deal for $5 million isn’t crazy, but there have to be concerns about him coming off a year away from football. At the very least, the Chiefs shouldn’t hand him a starting role without serious competition in training camp.
Any Chiefs fans who was sent into a panic after seeing Fisher and Schwartz get cut should feel a lot better about the state of the roster now. Kansas City has done a solid job of utilizing the limited resources at their disposal in free agency. Give the Chiefs a B-for their work to date.