The Kansas City Chiefs offseason picture got a bit clearer along the offensive line and the news is good—at least when assuming that Mitchell Schwartz‘s upcoming surgery is going to be a successful one.
On Monday, Schwartz noted that he was scheduled and ready for offseason surgery to help fix his ailing back that kept him out of the lineup from Week 6. After weeks of keeping fans in the dark about his plans for the coming season, Chiefs Kingdom is finally gaining some clarity on how the team will proceed moving forward—at least after the surgery is complete.
After watching Schwartz sit for most of the regular season and the entire postseason, it made sense to wonder whether or not Schwartz would retire or return for another year in 2021. He was signed an extension a year ago, so he’s on the books for another year, but as a veteran lineman with back issues, it was just impossible for those on the outside to really know one way or another how he might lean.
Fortunately, if Schwartz is ready to put in the work and come back to man the right tackle spot for the Chiefs, the team’s front line suddenly looks a lot more secure heading into another season. Lucas Niang will finally join the team after opting out last season, giving them a bright young tackle prospect to back up Schwartz in case something goes wrong again. It’s also possible Niang can cover for Eric Fisher until he also returns at left tackle.
Mitchell Schwartz is looking forward to a healthy return for 2021 for K.C. Chiefs.
The Chiefs still have plenty of needs along the offensive interior and long-term questions remain at both tackle positions, but even Schwartz’s hope to return helps fill in the blanks about the short-term possibilities, even as the Chiefs piece together their future plans.
Schwartz initially left the team’s win over the Buffalo Bills and failed to return for a single game in 2020 after setting NFL marks for most consecutive snaps played in a career. As the team’s iron man, it was hard for the offense to perform up to expectations without their cornerstone along the offensive front. His return could go a long way toward alleviating the concerns showcased in the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.