Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a consummate pro. He is one of the most revered and well-respected members of the locker room. He was a starter for the 2019 team that won the Super Bowl and the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at the 2021 ESPYs after he was the first NFL player to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season in order to contribute to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
With all that said, here comes one of the longest-lasting cliches in the sport: the NFL is a business.
And let’s not kid ourselves, LDT’s roster spot in 2021 was under question, even before Trey Smith took his starting spot. Next season, it becomes even more important that the Chiefs are thrifty along the offensive line. Joe Thuney is already one of the league’s highest-paid players at the position, and if Orlando Brown isn’t under a hefty contract as the Chiefs’ left tackle, someone else will be.
To be clear, there’s a chance that LDT returns, but only if it’s a minimum-dollar deal. There just isn’t going to be a lot of cap space for a 31-year-old reserve guard next year. The Chiefs will likely look to get a little younger on the offensive line as they build around Thuney, Smith, Brown, Creed Humphrey, and Lucas Niang.
One more thing to mention: there are a few other players who will probably be gone, as well as a handful of players in a contract year that I think the Chiefs will retain.