If Bashaud Breeland heads elsewhere as is expected, the Chiefs can find a veteran replacement with championship-level experience in Butler, whose production, like Breeland’s, has been up and down but also consistently makes key plays in important moments. The Chiefs still need to figure out their situation at tackle and appear to be waiting out Austin Reiter’s market to answer their lingering question at center, but on the defensive side of the ball, Butler makes plenty of sense. L’Jarius Sneed proved he can handle a larger role, but a veteran presence wouldn’t hurt a team aiming for another Super Bowl run.
Five best 2021 free agent moves
2. Chiefs sign OL Joe Thuney
Contract: 5 years, $80 million
Per year: $16 million
Kansas City is paying a pretty penny for a lineman who’ll primarily play inside. In fact, if he stays at left guard, he’ll be the highest paid there by a mile, averaging $4.5M more per year than the Saints’ Andrus Peat, who’s overpaid himself. Still, protecting Patrick Mahomes is key, and Thuney can play literally every position in the trenches. If you’re going to spend big, do it up front.
Are the Buccaneers the Super Bowl favorites after they brought back all of their core?
Fowler: Nah, let’s go AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs will be a favorite after they finish replenishing the offensive line, and the Buffalo Bills have made a major jump in each of the past two years. The next jump is an AFC Championship — maybe more. The Green Bay Packers have to break through at some point after two straight NFC Championship Game losses. Tampa is one of four or five teams in the mix.
TACKLE NOTRE DAME
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs went all out to sign guard Joe Thuney in free agency, giving him a five-year, $80 million deal. They followed that up by coaxing Kyle Long out of retirement on a one-year, $1.5 million pact. Still, after releasing both starting tackles from last season (Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz), this offensive line needs more reinforcements. Enter Eichenberg. Although he hasn’t generated much first-round hype, I could see a tackle-needy team jumping at the chance to grab him. Eichenberg brings length, technical savvy, and experience, with 38 college starts under his belt.
Ifeatu Melifonwu CB
Melifonwu has a first-round athletic profile and squeaky clean film.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Joe Tryon, DE, Washington
Frank Clark had a down year for the Chiefs in 2020, and defensive ends Tanoh Kpassagnon and Alex Okafor are free agents. Tryon has the size KC covets at defensive end and recorded eight sacks in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season.
Around the NFL
The finance committee approved Snyder’s application for a $450 million debt waiver, an NFL spokesperson confirmed. The other owners will vote at the league’s annual meeting next week on whether to approve the deal. Snyder needs 24 of the 32 owners to vote in favor of the transaction. The news was first reported by Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com.
The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued their busy offseason Wednesday, agreeing to a two-year, $31.8 million contract extension with offensive tackle Donovan Smith while finalizing a one-year, $10 million deal to bring back defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Left tackle: Lucas Niang
Left guard: Joe Thuney
Center: Nick Allegretti
Right guard: Kyle Long
Right tackle: Mike Remmers
Pros: A veteran left guard can help Niang in his first NFL experience. Both guard positions are filled by high-level talents. Center and right tackle have some level of continuity.
Cons: Duvernay-Tardif is either benched or released; he has a no-trade clause. One way or another, there is money being wasted on him. The starting left tackle would be taking his first snaps as an NFL player and hasn’t played football since October 2019. Niang combined with the 32-year-old Remmers is an uninspiring tackle duo.
Regardless of what happens the rest of free agency the Chiefs have to nail this draft in a way they haven't yet in the Veach era.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) March 24, 2021
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