Patrick Mahomes ran for his life in a losing effort in Super Bowl LV, and the Chiefs knew they had to fix the offensive line that couldn’t keep Mahomes upright. By acquiring Orlando Brown Jr. in a trade with the Ravens, the Chiefs have now finished that offseason project.
The Chiefs’ offensive line will look nothing like the unit that played for them last year, as an offseason of big moves has made a big difference.
Brown is the cornerstone, the left tackle who was a Pro Bowler in Baltimore but didn’t want to stick around because the Ravens wanted to play him on the right side. Now Brown will get his wish and protect Mahomes’ blind side. But Brown is far from the only addition.
Guard Joe Thuney signed a five-year, $80 million deal to play next to Brown. Thuney was one of the best guards in the NFL during his time with the Patriots, and the Chiefs expect him to continue playing at a high level for years to come.
Kyle Long came out of retirement and signed with the Chiefs as well. The 32-year-old Long was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Bears and can play either guard or tackle, and after taking a year off Long is expecting to play at a high level again for the Chiefs.
At center, the Chiefs added Austin Blythe, who started the last three seasons for the Rams, on a one-year contract.
The Chiefs are also expecting the return of starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted out of the 2020 season so that he could work in a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic. And 2020 third-round pick Lucas Niang, an offensive tackle who also opted out in 2020, is also expected back.
With three offensive linemen signed in free agency, two offensive linemen coming back from opt-outs, and now Brown’s arrival in a trade, no team in the NFL has done more to improve its offensive line this offseason than the Chiefs.