One NFL free agent that has flown under the radar this season but could become very useful to several teams in the near future is offensive tackle, Mitchell Schwartz.
Schwartz, a four-year starter and former All-Pro for the Kansas City Chiefs, finds himself as a free agent currently due to his injury recovery. Schwartz injured his back last season which required surgery on February 24 and a rigorous rehab process has him not quite 100% healthy as he battles through the final stages of recovery.
“Yeah, I’d say still current NFL player,” Schwartz told the Arrowhead Addict podcast on September 3 when asked if he still considers himself an active NFL player. “You know, I’m in the last stages of recovery here hoping to kind of get over this final hump. It’s taken a little longer than I would have liked or we would have liked but once I’m 100% fully ready to go, I think I can make that decision and figure out what’s next for me.”
Now that it’s been over a month since Schwartz made those comments regarding his recovery timeline, he’s even closer to being fully healthy. This has sparked recent chatter about him signing with certain NFL teams, some of which could be contenders this season, and some of which are in the Chiefs’ division.
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Schwartz Linked to Several Teams
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report wrote about free agents that are still available and can have an impact on the 2021 season. No. 4 on his list was Schwartz, who Kay wrote would be a good fit for the New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, and Carolina Panthers, noting the offensive line struggles for each of those teams.
“Schwartz is still a major asset at one of the game’s most important positions when healthy. He earned a respectable 74.7 grade from PFF last year and scored at least an 84.0 mark in each of the two seasons prior,” Kay wrote.
“Those are just three of many franchises that would benefit immensely from adding a stalwart tackle. If he’s fully recovered from February’s back surgery, Schwartz needs to be signed immediately.”
Could Chiefs, Schwartz Reunite?
Looking at the offensive line play of Kansas City this season, an argument could be made that the defending AFC champions should try and coerce Schwartz to join them, at the very least for the remainder of the season. While the offensive line play for the Chiefs is much improved, one spot that has struggled is right tackle, the position Schwartz played in Kansas City for 70 games.
First-year tackle Lucas Niang — a 2020 opt-out — has garnered a 62.4 overall grade from PFF through five games this season. While his running blocking grade is solid (74.1), Niang struggles in pass protection, giving up 20 total pressure this season, which includes, two hits and one sack allowed. He’s also been penalized three times.
Having Niang sit behind Schwartz for the season, learn from him, and then re-evaluate the position next offseason wouldn’t be a bad course of action for Kansas City. Seeing that the Chiefs are very little cap space to work this, Schwartz would have to be willing to sign to a minimum contract, which definitely isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
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