The Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason offensive line overhaul has seen the team’s depleted Super Bowl LV starting five reinforced with experienced veterans including LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Austin Blythe and RG Kyle Long.
However, with the recently unretired Long already expected to miss much of training camp with a lower leg injury and former starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returning from a year away from football, not everyone is comfortable with the Chiefs’ current depth on the right side of the frontline.
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B/R Proposes Trade for Pricey Jaguars Guard
In a new NFL roundup suggesting one trade every team should make before training camp, Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling points to Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell as a potential trade candidate.
The proposed price tag?
A 2022 second-round draft pick.
The Kansas City Chiefs remade the offensive line this offseason with big-ticket items Orlando Brown Jr. at left tackle and Joe Thuney at left guard.
But that’s two out of five spots that really needed an overhaul, and Kyle Long, fresh out of retirement, already suffered an injury in OTAs.
This early flirtation with the injury bug, regardless of severity, should have the Chiefs skittish about the line making it through 17 games. That should be enough to throw an offer at Jacksonville for the aforementioned Norwell.
Like other teams already mentioned, just getting the best starting five on the field is critical for the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. Norwell wouldn’t come cheap, but it could be the thing that prevents another Super Bowl collapse, making it a worthwhile tradeoff.
After spending his first four years with the Carolina Panthers, the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Norwell signed a lucrative five-year, $66.5 million free agent deal ($30 million guaranteed) in Jacksonville in 2018. However, after agreeing to a restructure in March, his 2021 salary stands at $12 million, while counting for $15 million against the Jaguars salary cap this season.
For direct comparison, Norwell’s $12 million base salary would be the third-highest on Kansas City’s books this coming season, trailing only Frank Clark ($18.5M) and Tyrann Mathieu ($14.5M).
Why Norwell Trade Is Highly Unlikely
With the Chiefs presently sitting at approximately $8.3 million in cap space, per Spotrac, financial implications are only one factor working against a potential acquisition of Norwell or any other offensive lineman of similar talent, experience and cost.
While the long-term depth of Patrick Mahomes’ right side is in question — with Long, Duvernay-Tardif, Blythe, Andrew Wylie and Mike Remmers all scheduled to become free agents in 2022 — Kansas City has another new piece in the form of sixth-round rookie Trey Smith.
Once considered a first-round prospect, Smith dropped to the latter end of the 2021 NFL draft due to concerns around previous bouts of blood clots in his lungs. Early into his first NFL offseason, the former Tennessee standout is already making a strong impression.
“Watch for Trey Smith,” FanSided national NFL reporter Matt Verderame tweeted on June 10, one day following Long’s injury. “The Chiefs are very pleased with him, and now Smith has an opening at RG. I’m told he’s looked every bit the steal many thought he was.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid did not seem immediately concerned about the long-term outlook at the position either, highlighting an expedited opportunity for Smith to stake his claim on the starting job.
“We’re lucky we have some good players in there,” Reid told reporters on June 17. “One of which, Trey Smith, that can get some work, too. Larry [Laurent Duvernay-Tardif] is coming back, you add all of that in there. Wiley’s got a couple years starting under his belt, so we’re okay there. Allegreti, likewise.”
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!