We've previewed the Chiefs quarterbacks, running backs and offensive tackles. Now we look to the offensive guards...
The Chiefs guard situation can be summed up with quantity over quality. At least known quality. The three big questions right now are:
1) Is Jeff Allen leaving?
2) Is Jah Reid now a guard?
3) What's the deal with Ben Grubbs?
The good news is that the Chiefs do have plenty of bodies and plenty of options. The bad news is that there's not really a single sure thing at guard entering next season. GM John Dorsey has his work cut out for him attempting to choose the right direction for the Chiefs interior line.
Let's see what's going on entering next season.
Jeff Allen: He is scheduled to hit free agency on March 9 and there will be interest. The Chiefs line was better with him than without him. We've argued the Chiefs should bring him back ($4 million per year has been mentioned) but there's no sign that they are. The Chiefs have let Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz, Jon Asamoah and Rodney Hudson exit via free agency in the past three offseasons. They have to keep one of their guys at some point. Allen, who has some tackle experience, should be that guy.
Jah Reid: Signed a three-year extension late last season. He started the season at tackle and ended the season at guard. He's a big strong guy with a nice attitude to him as Von Miller learned last season. Small sample size but I preferred his work at guard over tackle. The problem with starting him at guard is that the Chiefs would then need to find another solution for a right tackle and a swing tackle. Is he more valuable at tackle at this point? Free agency and the draft will help answer that.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif: He started 13 games last season. Was it enough to secure the starting job? Not without some competition. I like him on the roster as a developmental guy but keep churning these types throughout the line and let the cream rise to the top. Jah Reid could be the main competition at guard. Zach Fulton will also be competition and perhaps even an unknown like Paul Fanaika (yes, still on the roster). Right guard looks like a complete tossup to me right now.
Ben Grubbs: The Chiefs traded a fifth round pick to the Saints last year and got seven starts out of Grubbs before a neck injury ended his season. He wasn't the Pro Bowl player he was previously when he did play and we have no idea where he stands with that neck injury heading into this season. Uncertainty. Cutting him doesn't help much with cap space this year. He will turn 32 years old next week but prior to joining the Chiefs he had started all 16 games in six of the last seven seasons. Depending on the injury, there's some hope he can return. If he does return, he's a natural replacement at left guard for Jeff Allen, who took over for him last season.
Zach Fulton: 16-game starter at right guard in 2014 who was replaced by LDT only to go on and fill in for Mitch Morse at center. Small sample size again but I liked his work at center. I also like Morse's work at center. So, I'm not sure here. Do you put Fulton at center and help shore up guard with Morse, who is versatile? Or do you stick with Morse at center considering the time and resources you've put into developing him there? Probably the latter but it's a question worth exploring because Fulton played well at center when given the shot. Ultimately, the answer is likely to keep him as a swing lineman - he can fill in at guard or center whenever needed. There's nothing wrong with that either. You need linemen like that with the toll a 16-game season takes on the body.
Paul Fanaika: Remember him? The Chiefs signed him last year to a three-year deal and his season ended before it started by going to IR in September. He was said to be a guard / tackle. Here's a film review we did on him last year. My brief notes from last season suggest he is more of a guard than a tackle.
Daniel Munyer: He's really a backup center but he has played some guard. He'd make the team for his center skills though.
Jarrod Pughsley: Spent much of last season on the practice squad but was brought up to the 53-man roster in December. The Chiefs like something about him if they did that. He is billed as a guard / tackle so for now he is depth with a chance to earn more this offseason.
Michael Liedtke (practice squad): Total unknown but spent time on the practice squad.