After struggling to protect quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs have overhauled their offensive line this offseason.
Depending on how you look at it, the line could include five new starters when Kansas City lines up Week 1. While Mike Remmers is expected to play right tackle for the club again in 2021 after starting the majority of the season in that spot last year, he took over the position when Mitchell Schwartz suffered a back injury.
Elsewhere on the line, the Chiefs traded for left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., signed guard Joe Thuney, signed center Austin Blythe, lured guard Kyle Long out of retirement, and will get guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif back after he opted out of the 2020 season. Then the club drafted Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey in the second round on Friday.
During his Monday press conference, General Manager Brett Veach said the Chiefs’ plan to transform the offensive line didn’t just come together because of the team’s Super Bowl performance.
“Even at the start of the season, Austin Reiter was going to be a free agent,” Veach said. “And certainly Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz were both getting up there in regards to years experience and years playing the league. So I think our eye was always on that as our college guys were on the road. And as we started to meet in free agency in that process. And even before ‘Fish’ got hurt, when we met I think in early December, late November, our blueprint early on was, we’re going to really solidify some offensive line play in regards to tackle depth, interior depth and where can we find value in free agency?
“Certainly that plan got put into ultra-gear after Fish got hurt and then it was made aware to us that Mitch was going to get offseason surgery. It was on our radar the whole time. But I think the level of urgency just really picked up as soon as Eric got hurt and we got word that Mitch was going to get surgery. So I think that was probably going to be our priority anyway in the offseason. We probably doubled down a little bit, knowing that some of the veterans that we anticipated back wouldn’t be back either.”
Whether it was always the plan or not, the Chiefs have not been content with what they had up front despite employing one of the league’s best quarterbacks. The moves have set up Kansas City for a run at a third consecutive AFC championship.