The Kansas City Chiefs have added to their tackle depth, agreeing to a one-year deal with left tackle Donovan Smith, a source close to the situation confirmed to The Star on Wednesday.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported the transaction, saying Smith’s deal would be “worth up to $9 million.”
Smith, ranked by Pro Football Focus as the 91st-best free agent this offseason and 10th-best tackle, suddenly gives KC a crowded offensive line room. The 6-foot-6, 338-pound Smith started 131 of 137 total games for Tampa Bay over the last eight seasons at left tackle before the Bucs released him in March.
The Chiefs’ assumed starter at left tackle has been former Jacksonville Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor, whom KC signed to a four-year, $80 million deal in March. Taylor spoke after his signing about being willing and able to shift to the left side.
That also seemed to be the intent after last week’s NFL Draft, as Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was asked Monday if the plan was to put Taylor on the left side.
“I’m sure it’s safe to say that, as we sit here today, Taylor will be able to go out there and run left tackle with the 1s,” Veach said then.
Veach went on to talk Monday about the team’s presumed competition at right tackle under offensive line coach Andy Heck. The Chiefs added Oklahoma right tackle Wanya Morris in the third round of last week’s NFL Draft. They also have previous starter Lucas Niang returning after he sat out most of last season with a knee injury.
Darian Kinnard, a fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft, remains a possibility, as well.
“I think all three of those guys will balance in there, and I think, at least for sure Kinnard will go back and forth to tackle and guard, and I think Wanya has some tackle-guard flex,” Veach said Monday. “So I think you’ll see coach Heck do a great job of just mixing and matching, and then when we get into training camp, just let the competition speak for itself.”
Smith’s signing seems to open up more of an opportunity for Taylor to stay at his natural right-tackle position. Taylor, 25, has played 4,282 NFL snaps there compared to 18 at left tackle.
Meanwhile, Smith has played 8,473 pro snaps at left tackle and none at any other offensive line spot.
Smith, who will turn 30 next month, was a second-round pick for Tampa Bay out of Penn State in 2015.