Following an injury-plagued Super Bowl performance, the Kansas City Chiefs front office worked enough salary cap wizardry in the last week to allow for the bombshell signing of guard Joe Thuney on day one of the NFL’s free agent tampering period.
On day two, the team has continued adding to its offensive line depth in the form of restricted free agent Andrew Wylie. As first reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday morning, the Chiefs are expected to tender the former undrafted guard who started 17 total games for the AFC champions last season, including Super Bowl LV.
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Wylie Now Guaranteed at Least $2.1 Million in 2021
Although the level of the tender being offered to Wylie is still unknown, the original-round tender worth $2.1 million for next season is the most likely option. Either way, the 26-year-old is likely return to Kansas City for a fourth season after playing a career-high 88% of the team’s snaps in 2020. Wylie is still free to negotiate with teams interested in his services, however, his restricted status gives the Chiefs the first right to match any offer.
Unlike higher tenders, such as the first-round tender which would net a team a corresponding first-round pick in return for another club signing away their restricted free agent, Kansas City will not receive any draft compensation should Wylie receive an offer they’re unwilling to match.
A versatile chess piece on the frontline, Wylie brings experience at right guard, left guard and right tackle, though he is a fair bet to shift to a depth and rotational role with Thuney seemingly locked in at left guard and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returning to his right guard spot. A starting tackle position is also a longshot considering the Chiefs are still in the mix for star LT Trent Williams as of Tuesday and appear to be high on last year’s third-rounder, Lucas Niang, as the potential right tackle of the future.
Overall, Wylie has started 35-of-41 games in his three years with the Chiefs, an impressive feat considering his undrafted status. The results haven’t always been promising, but Wylie has proven he can step in effectively in a pinch.
Chiefs Letting CB Alex Brown & TE Deon Yelder Walk
In related news, Kansas City has also made its final decisions on the future of two other in-house free agents prior to Thursday’s league deadline.
According to The Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell on Tuesday, undrafted cornerback Alex Brown, who missed all of 2020 after tearing his ACL during training camp last August, will not be receiving an exclusive rights tender. Brown, 24, originally joined the team in 2019 out of South Carolina State. He saw action in three games as a rookie, totaling two tackles during that span. He’ll now be free to negotiate a free agent deal elsewhere.
Similar, backup tight end Deon Yelder will also not be returning to the Chiefs in 2021. The decision was first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Sunday. Also an undrafted free agent, the 26-year-old completed his third season with the team in 2020. For his career, Yelder has accumulated 10 receptions for 86 yards working in a logjam behind All-Pro Travis Kelce.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!