The Kansas City Chiefs once again appear to have a new plan to protect Patrick Mahomes‘ blind side.
The team landed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith on a one-year, $9 million deal in free agency on Wednesday, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, adding another veteran to an offensive line looking to replace departed Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown, who made the Pro Bowl in both of his seasons with the Chiefs, left the team earlier this offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals, who gave him a four-year, $64 million deal with $31 million guaranteed.
The 29-year-old Smith had started at left tackle for the Bucs since they took him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, winning a Super Bowl in 2020. In Pro Football Focus’ metrics, he ranked 66th out of 81 offensive tackles last season (Brown ranked 19th).
How the Chiefs are handling OL without Orlando Brown Jr.
Two days before Brown was reported to be signing with the Bengals, they landed former Jacksonville Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor on a four-year, $80 million deal with $60 million guaranteed with the stated hope of using him to replace Brown at left tackle.
That plan was seen as risky given that the Chiefs were paying him more than Brown ended up receiving to play a position he had never seriously played before in the NFL, but now that plan appears to be changing.
Per Pelissero, Smith will line up at left tackle and Taylor at right “if all goes well.” Both starting tackles were open because the Chiefs also lost starting right tackle Andrew Wylie to the Washington Commanders on a three-year, $24 million deal.
If Smith proves to be up to snuff, he’ll be taking on arguably the most important offensive line job in football with protecting Mahomes. If not, it’s conceivable he could still be a swing tackle while the Chiefs figure out what to do with Taylor, returning player Lucas Niang and third-round rookie Wanya Morris.