With three-time Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford now on the open market, the Chiefs should be all in on trying to acquire the former Saints lineman.
The Saints cut Warford in a salary cap-related move after he became expendable as a result of their draft. The move saves New Orleans $7.5 million against the cap in 2020, space they likely need to get all of their draft signings completed and to give the team flexibility as they head into the season.
Warford has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons, is only 28, and should be relatively affordable given where we are at in the free agency period and offseason.
As a result of those realities, the Kansas City Chiefs should pursue and sign the veteran guard. Doing so would instantly upgrade the offensive line, as he’d become (by far) the best interior offensive lineman on the roster.
Upgrading the guard position would allow the Chiefs to use Martinas Rankin (acquired in trade from the Houston Texans in 2019) as a versatile backup, a position he is the well-suited to fill on the roster. Rookie Lucas Niang could then start his career at tackle, where head coach Andy Reid indicated he will likely play in the long run, instead of starting his career at guard and then kicking out next year.
As for the financial side of the deal, the Chiefs can make room to sign the veteran. The easiest way to clear space is to sign defensive tackle Chris Jones to a long term deal. However, as Arrowhead Addict’s Scott Loring discussed in February, there are other ways to acquire the cap space, too.
If we assume that all of Veach’s bravado about being able to massage the salary cap is true, the Chiefs can certainly make this move happen. Couple that fact with the Chiefs interest in big money free agent Andrus Peat earlier this offseason (who ultimately signed for an $11.5 million per year average), and we know Kansas City can come up with the $7 million or so that Warford will command.
The Chiefs, we know, will never be done looking for ways to improve the roster. As the defending Super Bowl Champions, they have the flexibility to take shots when they become available. And, with Brett Veach at the helm, we know that no deal is off the table until a player is no longer available.
Time will tell if Kansas City pursues the stellar starting guard, but they should and they should sign him.