Much has changed on the Chiefs’ offensive line since Andrew Wylie suited up for Super Bowl LV. Despite the team’s near-complete overhaul up front, Wylie will be back in the fold.
The three-year veteran signed his restricted free agent tender Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Barring an extension, Wylie will earn $2.133MM this season. The Chiefs gave Wylie an original-round tender in March.
Since extending that tender offer, the AFC champions have been busy up front. While Wylie has been a primary guard starter in each of his three Chiefs seasons, the team gave Joe Thuney a guard-record contract and brought former Pro Bowler Kyle Long out of retirement. Longtime right guard starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is also expected to play in 2021. A doctor, Duvernay-Tardif was the first NFLer to opt out of last season; he focused on his other career amid the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chiefs also drafted Tennessee prospect Trey Smith in Round 6. Smith was widely viewed as a player whose talent warranted a higher-round selection, but medical red flags pushed him down the draft board.
While each of these non-Thuney cogs bring some uncertainty, the Chiefs have beefed up this position considerably this offseason. Wylie, 26, has started 35 games as a pro. Pro Football Focus graded the Eastern Michigan product as a top-30 guard in 2018 and ’19 but slotted him near the bottom at the position last season.
The Chiefs plugged Wylie in at right tackle for Super Bowl LV, following Eric Fisher‘s Achilles tear. That did not go well. But Wylie will have an opportunity to re-establish his value in 2021, ahead of a potential unrestricted free agency bid next year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.