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Should the Chiefs bring back Kelechi Osemele?

We discussed that and more on the latest mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the Monday mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we were asked why we haven’t talked much about Kelechi Osemele this offseason when considering moves to improve the offensive line.

The Kansas City Chiefs saw a small but very good sample of Osemele this year when they signed him late in July. He added a different layer of physicality and consistency along the interior that the Chiefs have struggled to find over the last few years. In a Week 5 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders, Osemele tore tendons in both knees, requiring surgery and ending a promising season short.

The Chiefs lost the Super Bowl largely because of attrition along their offensive line. Their depth certainly took a hit when Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang opted out before the season — but they also so significant injury to the members of the offensive line room that participated this season. Osemele got an opportunity partly because of Duvernay-Tardif and Niang’s exits.

With both starting tackles’ seasons ending early along with Osemele’s, I expect the Chiefs to overcorrect by rebuilding and insulating that group with healthy bodies. They don’t know if Duvernay-Tardif will respond well to the time off — and the same with Niang. There is risk being so far removed from the physical toll this game puts on players. They have to manage risk in building their offensive line so there is quality depth and track records of health.

Osemele doesn’t fit the criteria for health — and neither did the recently cut Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. The Chiefs can’t enter the season penciling in injury-prone offensive lineman to their starting lineup — and I think we’ve seen a response to their issues by starting from scratch. If Osemele wants to come back as a backup on another minimum contract without the guarantee of a job, by all means, the Chiefs should make the deal. But this team needs to aim higher and for availability (the best ability) up front. This could be a year where the Chiefs carry 10 offensive linemen and Osemele can fit in as a backup — but nothing more.


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