The Chiefs have signed Kelechi Osemele to a one-year contract.
The Kansas City Chiefs did not waste any time after learning that starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif had decided to opt out for the 2020 regular season. One day after the news broke, the Chiefs signed free agent offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele to a one-year contract, per Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports.
Osemele’s deal is for a reported $2 million for a single season, quite a bit less than what Duvernay-Tardif was set to make on the year, even after restructuring his contract down to a total of $5.5 million on the season.
Duvernay-Tardif decided to opt out next season in order to serve in his other career as a medical doctor in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The lineman released a statement via Twitter on Saturday offering his explanation as the first player to officially opt out of playing in 2020. Every player has until August 3 to opt out of playing this year due to the coronavirus (at least to receive a stipend, etc.).
Osemele is a familiar face after years of playing against him twice each season with the Oakland Raiders. Osemele was even an All-Pro guard in 2016 and was a solid starter for the Raiders for a significant stretch within the last few years. However, his production began to decline in 2018 as he dealt with a knee injury. The Raiders then traded Osemele to the New York Jets in 2019.
Last season was a total disaster for Osemele. The Jets were demanding that Osemele play through a shoulder injury that the guard wanted surgery on. It led to a standoff in which Osemele refused to practice and the Jets began to fine their own player for wanting to pursue an option to get healthy. Osemele’s agent filed a grievance against the team and the Jets finally released him in late October.
Osemele will now compete with other internal options for a starting role with the Chiefs. In the past, he’s had success at left guard, so it will be interesting if he has to switch sides. Others in play include former starters Andrew Wylie and Mike Remmers, one of this year’s other free agent signings. The Chiefs also have former draft picks like Lucas Niang and Nick Allegretti