K.C. Chiefs rumors: Russell Okung is on free agent radar
By Matt Conner
According to ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler, the K.C. Chiefs have reportedly checked in on free agent offensive tackle Russell Okung.
For the last few weeks, ever since the release of veterans Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, Chiefs fans have been waiting for news of any potential addition at offensive tackle. Save for the failed courtship of Trent Williams, who spurned a reportedly top-shelf offer from the Chiefs to re-sign with the San Francisco 49ers, the Chiefs haven’t really made any moves to alleviate the concerns of fans who worry about protecting Patrick Mahomes. Okung might be just the answer that fans are hoping for.
At this point, the Chiefs aren’t without options already on the roster, but there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the ones in-house. The team recently signed Kyle Long, who has played right tackle before, but he came out retirement to sign with the Chiefs and his injury history isn’t going to inspire confidence for anyone—no matter how talented he might be when healthy.Rookie Lucas Niang was the team’s third-round pick last year, but he also sat out the 2020 NFL season and needs to adjust to the pros himself. Both players face considerable hurdles to get ready to play meaningful reps in 2021.
That’s what makes Okung such an intriguing option. Much like Long, Okung has a significant injury history which would likely preclude the Chiefs from assuming he could make it through a 16-game (or even 17-game) regular season. Still, he has proven to be an above average option when healthy at the left tackle position, and his experience and availability would at least give the Chiefs a cross-their-fingers option. He could also provide security while a rookie is preparing to take over.
The Chiefs have reportedly checked in on Russell Okung.
For all of his injuries, Okung has a nice 11-year career in the NFL to show for his talents, most recently with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler who can step in from Week 1 for the Chiefs and settle the nerves of fans. As for whether or not there’s a match in terms of price is another thing, but it sounds as if the Chiefs are doing their homework on options in the interim.