About 24 hours after starting left tackle Eric Fisher’s season was ended due to a torn Achilles tendon, the Kansas City Chiefs made a curious roster move on Monday — before righting the ship on Tuesday.
According to the NFL’s official transaction report for January 25, the reigning Super Bowl champions terminated the practice squad contract of offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanagho. The 6-foot-5, 308-pound rookie, considered by some to be the “steal of the draft” last year, was just recently picked up by the Chiefs on January 16 after his practice squad contract with the Philadelphia Eagles had expired.
At the time, the move was dubbed a savvy one by general manager Brett Veach, potentially giving head coach Andy Reid and staff the chance to unlock Wanagho’s potential in a way his former club hadn’t yet.
On Tuesday, Wanagho returned to the Chiefs on a reserve/future deal, per the NFL’s transaction wire. The new contract will officially take effect on the first day of the new league year on March 17 and give the team a chance to work more with him this offseason. The sixth-rounder is now the fifth player Kansas City has signed to such a deal, joining quarterbacks Jordan Ta’amu and Anthony Gordon and wideouts Antonio Callaway and Chad Williams.
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Wanagho Arrived in the U.S. With $20 & a Basketball Dream
The 23-year-old fell in last April’s NFL Draft after suffering a lateral meniscus tear in his knee late in the season, forcing him to miss critical pre-draft events including the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. The Eagles were the first club to take a chance on the raw Nigerian-born prospect with the hope of tapping into his athleticism and overall upside as a blocker.
Wanagho’s journey to the NFL is already something to behold, whether it works out or not. The first-year offensive lineman, who is one of nine children, didn’t arrive in the United States until high school. An aspiring 230-pound basketball and soccer player at the time, Wanagho had just $20 to his name, as detailed in this August 2019 ESPN profile.
Just a few years later, Wanagho was a two-time All-SEC player and SEC Academic Honor Roll selection at Auburn, starting 32 games for the Tigers over four seasons.
With Wanagho’s vacant practice squad spot, Kansas City may be clearing the way for a different player, such as former Seattle Seahawks OL Justin Britt, who visited the team last Thursday.
Another Gloomy Update on Mitchell Schwartz
With the absence of Fisher — in addition to veteran guards Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Kelechi Osemele — the Chiefs’ frontline depth will be tested on Super Bowl Sunday. Another missing piece, All-Pro RT Mitchell Schwartz, has been sidelined since aggravating a back injury in Week 6.
When asked this week about the chances of the 31-year-old veteran could finally return from injured reserve in time for February 7, Reid did not give a big vote of confidence to the idea.
“I don’t even know how optimistic I am about that,” Reid said during his, via Aaron Ladd of Kansas City’s 41 Action News. “I know the other guys are doing a nice job and we should be okay there. The guys that we have will step in and then if Mitch [Schwartz] can — if he can work it out where he can go, then that’s great. There’s nobody that wants to be there more than him, but I can’t tell you I’m that optimistic about it.”
Assuming Schwartz is a non-option, Patrick Mahomes and the back-to-back AFC champions could be looking at a starting offensive line featuring Mike Remmers, Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, Stefen Wisniewski and Andrew Wylie.
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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!