Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz share the same general offseason focus every year as cornerstone linemen for the K.C. Chiefs: to rest, to stay ready, and to come back better as the front line of this team’s offense. This spring and summer, they can add “rehabilitate injuries” to their list.
Between the two of them, they’ve started 183 games for the Chiefs at both tackle spots over the last several years—Fisher since 2013, Schwartz since 2017—but heading into the 2021 season, for the first time in a while, the Chiefs need to rethink their expectations at offensive tackle. In fact, there’s a very real possibility that one or both players aren’t available (or reliable) as starting tackles next season.
For Fisher, the timeline doesn’t look good for him to have much, if any, impact at all in 2021 given the timing and severity of his Achilles injury. He went down in the AFC Championship game, which means most of the offseason will be about getting the injury healed, let alone working his way back into game shape.
As for Schwartz, the All-Pro right tackle underwent surgery for back pain that never went away after he initially left during Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. After trying to rest for weeks and then months, Schwartz recently posted that he’s going through surgery with an eye on a healthy return in ’21.
The K.C. Chiefs have some potential trade targets if they want to improve at tackle.
The Chiefs are a better team with both men as healthy contributors, but it’s also true that both are aging veterans whose careers are nearing their end. That doesn’t have to mean bad things for 2021 for either or both, but it does mean the Chiefs need to think through all possibilities and bolster the front line for the 2021 season.
With that in mind, the NFL does have a few interesting trade candidates right now in terms of offensive tackles who could interest the Chiefs to varying degrees. Let’s take a look at what the Chiefs might find if they want to go shopping.