The Kansas City Chiefs saw their offensive line completely implode during Super Bowl LV. In a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was running for his life on almost every snap, rendering a generational quarterback completely ineffective. Like any good organization, the Chiefs saw that unfold and immediately addressed the situation in the offseason. The task is now complete.
The Chiefs landed the top offensive tackle on the trade market Friday afternoon, sending four draft picks to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for Orlando Brown Jr. and two picks. The price was steep, as Kansas City unloaded its first-rounder (No. 31), third-rounder (No. 94) and fourth-rounder (No. 136) in this year's draft, plus a fifth-rounder in 2022. In return the Chiefs got Brown, a second-rounder (No. 58) in 2021 and a sixth-rounder in 2022.
Brown filled in at left tackle for an injured Ronnie Stanley in 2020 and made the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row. Previously a right tackle, Brown asked to be traded so he could play left tackle full-time. With Stanley returning in 2021, that wasn't going to happen in Baltimore.
Mahomes was pressured on 52 percent of his dropbacks during Super Bowl LV, as a patchwork offensive line couldn't keep him protected. The Buccaneers had three sacks, but alos hit Mahomes 10 times. General manager Brett Veach saw that and acted, completely rebuilding his line into what looks like a formidable unit.
Veach opened the offseason by releasing former Pro Bowl tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz at the start of the new league year, clearing cap space and moving on from two guys who had been injured. The Chiefs also allowed former All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele go in free agency after he suffered dual knee injuries in 2020.
The first move they made to add someone was signing free agent guard Joe Thuney to a five-year, $80 million deal. The 28-year-old Thuney is in his prime and was an All-Pro for the Patriots in 2019. Next they signed the previously-retired Kyle Long to a one-year contract. Long, a 32-year-old former All-Pro guard for the Chicago Bears, took a year off in 2020 but appears ready to play. They also re-signed Mike Remmers to a one-year deal to start at right tackle. While Remmers really struggled in the Super Bowl as he played out of position at left tackle, he's had a decent year in 2020. Finally, they signed 29-year-old former Los Angeles Rams center Austin Blythe to a one-year deal. If that wasn't enough, 2020 opt-out, guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will be returning as well.
Trading for Brown was the final piece of the puzzle and gives the Chiefs a stud left tackle for the future, as the two sides work to agree on a new long-term contract. He completes a near-full rebuild of the offensive line and is far better than anyone Kansas City could have selected with the 31st pick.
Suddenly, a massive weakness has become a strength for the franchise. In a matter of weeks, one of the NFL's worst offensive lines has become one of the best. All those teams that watched the Super Bowl and drooled over the prospect of pressuring Mahomes regularly will have to rethink those plans. The Chiefs have built a wall around their franchise quarterback and it will be very difficult to find a way through.
This is what great franchises do. They aggressively plug the holes on their rosters and protect their most precious assets. That the Chiefs were able to do both in less than two months is a testament to the front office.