The Kansas City Chiefs — to start at least — will treat recent free-agent signing Donovan Smith as the team’s starter at left tackle.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, talking Monday following the end of the team’s three-day rookie minicamp, was asked whether Smith would be on the left side of the line when he begins his offseason work with the team.
“The left side, yes. Probably with the 1s,” Reid said.
The Chiefs coach was then asked if that meant free-agent signing Jawaan Taylor would be at his more comfortable position at right tackle.
“We’d move him over to the right,” Reid said.
The coach’s comments gave some early clarification about the Chiefs’ plans following Smith’s signing with the team last week.
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. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Smith’s deal would be “worth up to $9 million.”
Before that transaction, it was presumed that Taylor would take over left-tackle duties for KC. Taylor signed a four-year, $80 million deal in March, saying during a Chiefs news conference the week after he signed that he was willing and able to shift to the left side.
Taylor, 25, has played 4,282 NFL snaps at right tackle 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.
Reid complimented the 29-year-old Smith on Monday, describing him as a “good football player.”
“He’s been a left tackle at a high level. And if you look at last year, he was hurt. And then the year before that, he was one of the top-graded left tackles in the league,” Reid said. “And we’ve had a chance to play against him a couple times. I know seeing him firsthand there.”
The Smith signing also could shuffle the Chiefs’ backup options.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said immediately after the NFL Draft that he anticipated Lucas Niang and third-round draft pick Wanya Morris would compete for the starting right tackle spot. However, Smith’s signing and Taylor moving to the right side would mean both Niang and Morris potentially would be looking to secure backup roles.
Morris played primarily right tackle for Oklahoma in 2022, but before that, he lined up at both left and right tackle in previous seasons at OU and Tennessee.