The Kansas City Chiefs are focused on the Jacksonville Jaguars but around the NFL, other franchises are already licking their chops as they look to steal away talent from playoff contenders in free agency.
One such player that could be targeted is “underappreciated” veteran right tackle Andrew Wylie according to Bill Barnwell of ESPN.
It’s hard for many players on the Chiefs offense to be underappreciated,” Barnwell voiced, “but Wylie grew into that sort of role during what will likely be his final season with the organization. The former guard moved into the starting lineup during the 2021 season and spent the duration as Kansas City’s right tackle. The 28-year-old allowed eight sacks, per Stats LLC, but he ranked ninth in pass block win rate, suggesting that some of those sacks were a product of Patrick Mahomes’ interpretive pocket movement and extending of plays.”
The long-time NFL writer continued: “Good tackles are hard to come by, and the Chiefs might not be able to afford a new deal for him. Left tackle Orlando Brown will be an unrestricted free agent, left guard Joe Thuney is one of the highest-paid interior linemen in the league and second-year linemen Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith are one year away from justifying their own new deals. Wylie should hit the market, and after inking a one-year deal for $2.5 million, it would be a surprise if he didn’t land a multiyear guarantee elsewhere.”
Chiefs Might Need to Target OT Position This Spring
With rumors that Wylie and Brown might both be targeted in free agency, Kansas City could be down two starting offensive tackles if they play their cards wrong. Some fans might scoff at the performance by their current two OTs, but Brown and Wylie are a lot better than most of the starters around the league at this increasingly top-heavy position.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, most top draft prospects at O-tackle are usually gone by the time they pick in round one — which is typically in the late-20s. KC has come a long way since spending the No. 1 overall selection on Eric Fisher in 2013.
Having said that, head coach Andy Reid and OL coach Andy Heck have done a tremendous job developing talent on the blocking unit over the years. Most recently, Humphrey and Smith have flourished as immediate starters, and Wylie himself took the leap from versatile backup to steady first-teamer.
Can this coaching staff do the same with someone like Prince Tega Wanogho — a former Philadelphia Eagles’ sixth-round pick that has shown some promise with KC — or recent third-rounder Lucas Niang coming off an injury? How about 2022 fifth-round pick, and potential G/OT, Darian Kinnard?
While the Chiefs have some internal candidates that could replace Brown or Wylie, it would be wise to bulk up the position this spring — whether they end up losing both tackles or not.
Jaguars’ Josh Allen Is Red Hot Heading Into Chiefs Matchup
Speaking of the offensive tackle position, it will be tested during the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Jaguars pass rusher Josh Allen is currently on a tear, and he’s not alone on a young and hungry Jacksonville front that includes 2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker.
On January 18, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero tweeted out a stat correction, noting that Allen had been credited with an extra sack in Week 18. “Allen now has a sack in five of Jacksonville’s last six games, including Saturday’s playoff win,” he informed.
If you combine regular season and postseason numbers, Allen currently leads the Jags with eight sacks this year. Second is underrated defensive end Dawuane Smoot with five, while Arden Key has 4.5 and Walker has four during his first NFL campaign.
Jacksonville registered three sacks against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers on Super Wild Card Weekend.