The K.C. Chiefs have addressed a need for more experience along the middle of the offensive line with the signing of Austin Blythe to a one-year contract, per NFL reporter Tom Pelissero.
With the move, the Chiefs now have some legitimate starting experience gained on the roster to compete at center going forward into the NFL Draft, which frees them up to not feel forced to address the position if the value on the draft board isn’t there.
The Chiefs have been used to an “Austin” at the position for the last few years given the presence of Austin Reiter as the team’s starting center for the last two seasons (and in a backup role for a third). The team was reportedly interested in Reiter returning for another year, despite letting him hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. In fact, rumors have floated that the team had offered him a deal that he was thinking about, but there’s been nothing official from Reiter in terms of a response to the deal or other known free agent visits.
With the move to sign Blythe, the Chiefs now have a veteran to go with other in-house options already on the roster like Nick Allegretti, who manned left guard last season in the wake of injuries but played center in his college days at Illinois. Joe Thuney is also capable of sliding over at center like he did last season with the New England Patriots in the wake of David Andrews’ injury in 2020.
The Chiefs have signed center Austin Blythe.
Blythe entered the NFL as the seventh round selection of the Indianapolis Colts back in the 2016 NFL Draft. After playing in eight games as a rookie behind Ryan Kelly, he was released and then claimed by the L.A. Rams just over a year later. Since then, he’s climbed the depth chart for Sean McVay’s offense to become a starter at right guard for two years before switching to center in 2020. His presence gives the Chiefs further versatility along the interior.