A Raiders expert says the Chiefs added an instant upgrade in Kelechi Osemele.
When news leaked last week that Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif would be the first player to opt out for the upcoming season, the team acted fast to bring in a replacement. With the addition of free agent Kelechi Osemele, the team was able to bolster competition and options for the right guard spot before training camp officially began.
If you ask a Las Vegas Raiders expert, however, the belief is that the Chiefs did more than just give themselves options. In fact, Brad Weiss, who runs FanSided’s Raiders site Just Blog Baby, says Kelechi Osemele should be an “instant upgrade” for the Chiefs.
In order to get some more perspective on Osemele’s past and present, we asked Brad to tell us about the lineman’s exit from the Raiders and what he expects to see from Osemele’s tenure with the Chiefs.
What’s the feeling among Raiders fans to see the Chiefs sign Osemele?
The loss of Osemele was a big one for the franchise, as he was more than consistent during his time with the Silver and Black. When he left the team, it was seen as a part of the rebuild, and we all expected him to have a big season with the Jets in 2019. Osemele was a fan favorite with the Raiders, so of course it hurts when you see a big-time guy go to another team. If the Chiefs get the version the Raiders got early on, he instantly upgrades the offensive line.
He was dealing with injuries in 2018. Is that why the Raiders traded him away? Was he on the decline then?
I don’t think it was the knee as much as it was the fact that he was one of the highest paid offensive guards in the league. When Gruden came in, his plan was to shed salaries, and we saw that with guys like Osemele, Khalil Mack, and Amari Cooper all being shown the door. Osemele dominated for the Raiders, but the 2018 season was marred with injuries, and the thought was he would be a cap casualty. The fact that the team was able to get a draft pick for him was just icing on the cake.
When healthy, at this stage of his career, what level would you predict Osemele could play at for the Chiefs?
There is no reason not to think that Osemele will come in and be a solid starter for the Chiefs in 2020. He had the shoulder surgery from his time with the Jets, and he will likely be healthy for the first time in a long time. Not only is Osemele a physical presence, but he is also incredibly smart, and the Chiefs, if he is healthy, got an absolute steal by bringing him in. He is only 31 years old, which is not old for his position group, and you have to look at it like he has not really played a ton of football over the past year and a half, so he should be fresh.
What about Osemele off the field? Any insight into him as a person, a leader, or someone in the community?
Osemele has always made it a point to be a stellar player on the field, and an even better person off of it. While the Jets fined him for conduct detrimental to the team, they were really just mad that he had shoulder surgery that the doctors said he must have. That whole organization is a mess, so I would not read too much into his time with them. With the Raiders, he was a consummate professional, an outstanding teammate, and he just happened to be a monster in the trenches. The Chiefs got a good one here.
Check out more from Brad Weiss and full coverage of the Raiders at Just Blog Baby.