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Four reasons why I'm fine with Eric Fisher's extension

The Kansas City Chiefs secured the services of left tackle Eric Fisher earlier this week with an extension that raised the eyebrows of the NFL world. Fisher is, by and large, considered an average left tackle saddled with the label of "former top pick" which means anything less than greatness will likely be considered a disappointment by most. For John Dorsey to commit to him through 2021, especially at an average annual price point of $12 million in new money, was quite a surprise.

Positive references to Fisher, even heading into his fourth NFL season, still refer to his upside. While fans might roll their eyes at Fisher's play so far, the Chiefs clearly believe the best is yet to come. Here's why I'm inclined to agree with them (and why I like the deal):

1. The Chiefs' coaching staff

There are two sides to the successful coin. The front office has to identify talent, and the coaching staff has to develop them into pro-ready players. Zach Fulton was an unheralded sixth round pick who has started 22 games in the last two seasons. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, another sixth round selection, went from imported project to starting guard. Mitch Morse wasn't the most popular second-round call, but that was before they saw how pro-ready he was from day one. The reason you can project Parker Ehinger, this year's fourth rounder, as a potential starter at left guard is because the Chiefs coaches have already been developing guys at this pace.

The Chiefs trust their process and we should too. The coaching staff have already made a competent left tackle with bursts of greatness out of Fisher, and if there's a group who is likely to help him reach his ceiling, it's the coaching staff who has already done a remarkable job with so many projectable talents across the offensive front.

2. Mitchell Schwartz

For the first time, Fisher's fellow bookend at right tackle isn't simply a revolving door for the first time in his NFL career. The Chiefs inked Mitchell Schwartz to man the other side of the line for the next few years, giving the Chiefs an excellent veteran tackle to protect Alex Smith from the other side.

The bonus in bringing in Schwartz is what it will likely provide for Fisher. Schwartz has given credit to future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas for helping him develop as a pro in his techniques and habits, and Fisher is likely to receive much of the same from KC's newest import. It simply has to be good for Fisher to have a Pro Bowl caliber player alongside him in film study, workouts, practices and the locker room. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

3. We knew it would take time

The banner over Eric Fisher has read the same thing from draft day until now: Patience Required. John Dorsey and Andy Reid told the press that they eschewed the supposedly better plug-and-play option in Luke Joeckel for the sake of Fisher's upside. His ceiling is what the Chiefs are hoping they find when they committed to pay him so handsomely through his age 30 season. It's been the story since 2013 and that's not going to change until at least after this year.

Fisher was a small-school prospect who relied more on his athleticism than his technique. Each and every year, Fisher continues to improve and there's no reason to believe this story will turn false at any point. The Chiefs said we'd need to be patient with Fisher and they've been right all along. He's not yet made a leap to greatness, but the upward trend shows their story was valid. Meanwhile, Joeckel fights for his starting spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

4. Betting on those betting on Fisher

More than anything else, this is what makes me perfectly fine with the extension and commitment given to Eric Fisher. It's not my livelihood that's on the line if the Chiefs are wrong. If Eric Fisher somehow refuses to reach his ceiling, if he somehow gets worse because the money goes to his head and he becomes the Ghost of Barry Richardson, the worst thing that happens to me is a fit of anger. I might yell, turn off the TV, drink an extra beer and/or sit in a beanbag chair for a while and pout. (I don't know.)

On the flip side, the men and women with real jobs on the line based on the Chiefs' on-field performance just committed another four years to a 25-year-old offensive tackle who has yet to live up to his draft status. If they think that's money well spent when there are obvious other places to spend such money, then I have to trust they know what they're doing. Even more, John Dorsey's front office acumen is, for me, beyond reproach at this point. At this point, he's earned the benefit of any doubt until proven otherwise.

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