Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, March 24
Joe Thuney signing with the Chiefs: This isn’t about Thuney, who is clearly a quality guard. It’s about value and need and, maybe, using free agency as an emotional rebound after a devastating Super Bowl loss. In a year of relatively low prices on the market, Thuney earned more guaranteed money ($50.9 million) than Trent Williams ($45.1 million) or any other free agent available. The history of guards changing places in free agency and proceeding to earn their money is spotty. While this is true at most positions, guards still rely on teammates and coaches so much that even a good one can get lost without the right support.
Part of my reasoning for listing Thuney here is that the Chiefs have done a laudable job coaching up and finding bargains at the position in the last five years. They paid for tackles, had big misses and some hits at guard and rode that to one of the best offenses in the league. When the tackles were injured this year, it all fell apart. But while the Chiefs’ general approach to pay on the edges made sense, Thuney’s signing this offseason only seemed to prevent the Chiefs from going the extra mile in their pursuit of Williams, who ended up sticking in San Francisco.
Round 1-pick 31-Teven Jenkins, Tackle- Oklahoma State 6’6 320
Redshirted at OSU his first year and has gained 30 lbs. Often described as a mauler he has the toughness the Chiefs line is looking for and a nastiness that could be a tone-setter for years to come. Has played guard and both tackle positions in college. Offensive line and protecting Patrick Mahomes should be the 1st line of business for the Chiefs. It might take him a quarter of the season to develop. Could they get by with Yasir Durant who started 2 and a half years at left tackle at Mizzou or could it be a journeyman cheap option on a prove-it deal which I do expect to happen until Jenkins is ready. He is a guy that could be in my opinion a long-term player in the NFL. His toughness stands out as he wants to punish you. I think his athleticism at that size and toughness would be a welcome addition at tackle. With the Chiefs signing Thuney and Long the LT position still remains the biggest position of need. We could still see Villananueva or Okung end up a Chief and that is what I am pulling for as you get that in the short term and let Jenkins develop. However, if they don’t go through free agency Jenkins might have what it takes to start day 1.
Oklahoma State · OT · Senior (RS)
The recent releases of Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher make offensive tackle a top priority for the Chiefs. Jenkins is an athletic, big-bodied blocker with the length to stymie pass rushers off the edge.
2 – Kansas City Chiefs
Previous rank: No. 2
The offensive line remains a story for the defending conference champs. The decision to part ways with Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher — the team’s starting tackles entering 2020 — sent shockwaves, and an unsuccessful pursuit of Pro Bowl blindside protector Trent Williams leaves Kansas City — and Patrick Mahomes — vulnerable. The signings of guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long should bring stability to the interior, but further reinforcements are necessary to keep the line from reaching Achilles’ heel status.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Assuming Laurent Duvernay-Tardif comes back, Kansas City will have one of the more formidable offensive line interiors in the sport, with Tardif, Kyle Long and Joe Thuney in the fold. Is this a deep enough tackle class for them to organically find a Mitchell Schwartz or Eric Fisher replacement in the draft? Could one or both of them come back once they’ve explored their individual markets? The Chiefs are also reportedly in on some veteran pass-rushing help, which could help make them a more complete unit heading into next year as (again) the presumptive AFC favorites to reach other Super Bowl.
In a recent video posted by Trent Williams’ management team, Elite Loyalty Sports, the man of the moment speaks about how he almost signed for Super Bowl LIV champions Kansas City Chiefs this summer.
“It’s like a roller coaster because I thought Kansas City was the place. It’s kind of like nervous, like what if I go to another city, another chapter? Luckily my boy (San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan) came through, man, and I came back. It’s kind of where I wanted to be, so dream come true,” Williams said in the above video.
Around the NFL
The Packers did not alter Aaron Rodgers’ contract this past Friday, a source told ESPN, and they paid his $6.8 million roster bonus as is rather than converting it into a signing bonus, which would have freed up more than $4.5 million in salary-cap space for this season.
However, they would have pushed that money to future caps, therefore increasing what Rodgers would count as on their 2022 and 2023 years.
There had been questions about whether the Packers had paid the roster bonus or agreed to push it back as part of a restructure or extension negotiations.
“It vested Friday like it was scheduled to,” the source said.
Of the many purposes Conley mentioned, the opportunity to reunite with Texans head coach David Culley was his primary determination.
“There’s always a lot of stuff surrounding an NFL team when you don’t have a winning season, but one of the things I am excited about is coach Culley,” Conley said. “Big fan of the man that he is and his direction. There is a very no-nonsense attitude with the coaches. They tell you how it is and what they think. And everything from there on you have to earn it. I am a big fan of that.
Haason Reddick, Panthers
Reddick racked up 12.5 sacks in his first season as a pure edge rusher. Now, he gets to get after the quarterback while working across from Brian Burns, and next to Derrick Brown. On a one-year, $8 million deal, he’s terrific value for the Panthers, who didn’t even have to commit to him on a long-term contract to take a shot on the upside he flashed last season. Considering his relationship with Matt Rhule goes back to their days at Temple, Carolina should have a good shot to re-sign him if things work out.
Winner: Los Angeles Chargers
Signed center Corey Linsley (two years, $26 million)
Signed guard Matt Feiler (two years, $15 million)
Signed tight end Jared Cook (one year, $4.5 million)
Russell Wilson was the most pressured quarterback in the NFL last year, and in February he went on television and asked for better offensive linemen. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was the second-most pressured quarterback last year, according to Pro Football Focus, and the Chargers actually went out and got him some offensive linemen.
Linsley is one of the NFL’s best centers. His knowledge of the game will help Herbert with protections and make the rest of the line better. Feiler is a solid former Steeler who will be an upgrade for L.A. at guard. Again, these moves are not sexy (offensive line moves rarely are). But protecting the franchise quarterback is about the best way the Chargers could spend money. And signing Jared Cook to replace Hunter Henry for half the price isn’t bad either.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Chiefs are shaking up their offensive line, signing guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long in free agency and letting tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher and interior linemen Austin Reiter and Kelechi Osemele walk (although Kansas City could still bring back one or some of them on short-term deals). And even after retaining Mike Remmers, it makes sense to draft a young tackle who could start down the road. There’s some buzz around Eichenberg, who was the Fighting Irish’s left tackle for the past two seasons. He has great feet and packs a punch in the run game.
At the time of Kiper’s last mock draft, the Chiefs’ outlook at the tackle position was very different. Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz were still members of the team, and the Chiefs had yet to lose out on a very aggressive push for the best left tackle available in the free-agent market — Trent Williams.
Most completions of 30+ yards since 2018:
▪️Patrick Mahomes – 81
▪️Aaron Rodgers – 75 pic.twitter.com/V0tkPnoZDg
— PFF (@PFF) March 22, 2021
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