The Chiefs made the tough decision to cut Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz today, parting ways with the two bookends of the offensive line that helped propel Kansas City to a Super Bowl win in 2020.
While moving on from two franchise mainstays is hard, these moves were very much expected. Fisher tore his Achilles in the AFC Championship this season, an injury that could keep him out the entire 2021 season or at minimum a large majority of it. Schwartz dealt with a back injury in 2020 that limited him to six games and ultimately required surgery to fix. He's expected to be healthy in 2021, however, the Chiefs made the move to create cap space. They are still $3 million over the hard cap ahead of next Wednesday's deadline and cutting Fisher and Schwartz saved them $18 million.
So cutting these two players with 12 years of combined tenure with the Chiefs makes sense for multiple reasons, including, to reiterate, the fact that one of them might not even play next year. Despite those facts, ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi felt these moves were a, "tremendous shot to that offense," because, "you fill in guys, they're not as good." He also mentioned how quickly championship windows close, insinuating these moves would hasten said closing.
Not sure who was doing research for Bruschi on this one, but, yeah, no.
I'm pretty sure whoever the Chiefs get to replace Fisher will be better than starting no one at the left tackle position because...well, you know...FISHER ISN'T HEALTHY! As for Schwartz, yeah, it could be a hit. He was an All-Pro in 2019. But in the NFL you have to make these moves sometimes to save cap space. If anyone should know that it's Bruschi, who played for a Patriots franchise that routinely cut veterans or let them walk in free agency and plugged replacements that fit the system.
According to ProFootballFocus, 12 of the top 100 prospects in the 2021 draft play offensive tackle. There are also several standout offensive tackles available in free agency including Russell Okung, Alejandro Villanueva and Cameron Fleming who could be signed on affordable contracts. The Chiefs also have internal options they're considering. Point being, there's no shortage of offensive tackles for the Chiefs to consider and for Bruschi to say whoever replaces Fisher and Schwartz will be worse is shortsighted.
As for the championship window closing comment, these moves will not hasten it one bit. In fact, they may extend it. Both Fisher and Schwartz are over 30-years-old and coming off major injuries. Should the Chiefs have overpaid for that now and suffered the consequences later? No. These were cost-cutting moves. Nothing more.
Yes, the Chiefs have to get creative and do was Bruschi's former team did well: find suitable replacements on affordable contracts. But saying they'll be worse because of these moves and saying it somehow closes their championship window is inaccurate. The moves had to be made and now it's on the Chiefs to fill in the holes.