The Kansas City Chiefs saved over $18 million in cap space by releasing tackles Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz on Thursday. Along with the contract restructures that can be done, Kansas City should have plenty of cap space to be a player in the free-agent market.
Let’s go through four possibilities to replace Fisher and Schwartz at the tackle position:
Williams was considered one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL in 2020, as he has been for most of his career. He’ll be 33 soon, but that won’t drive his price tag down. Spotrac projects that his market value is a salary of over $18 million annually. For comparison, Indianapolis Colts’ tackle Anthony Castonzo signed a two-year deal for $16.5 million annually at age 31 recently.
He’d be a dream addition for the Chiefs as their young offensive tackles get their feet under them more. It sounds like he might return to the San Francisco 49ers, but the Chiefs have the cap space to aggressively attack the signing now.
Turning 33 next season, Reiff isn’t as exciting of a signing as the 33-year-old Williams. He’s been a solid starting left tackle for the Minnesota Vikings for a big chunk of his career, averaging an annual salary of $11.75 million over the last four seasons. He was cut from the team this offseason and could be a short-term solution for a starter.
For how serviceable Mike Remmers was in 2020, Reiff could probably be an even better, more consistent version. He’s been a very durable player throughout his career.
Williams held down the right tackle spot for the Buffalo Bills in 2020, helping that passing offense take the leaps it did. He’ll be 29 by the start of next season, so he’ll be looking for a long-term contract as he’s one of the youngest in his position on the market.
Since tearing his MCL before the 2018 season, Williams has slowly ascended back to an above-average starter — which there is not a lot of at his position. He may be hitting his stride again as a player after recovering from a severe injury and would be a more proven long-term solution than an in-house option or a draft pick.
After being a staple at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers for six seasons, Villanueva is on the market — and most likely a well-sought after player. Spotrac projects that his market value will be an annual salary of $16.5 million.
He’s been a consistent, important piece of the pass protection for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is the type of quarterback that makes it more difficult for his blockers by holding it too long and not being mobile. Patrick Mahomes has his own pocket presence issues at times, but nothing like what Villanueva’s been dealing with.