The Chiefs and fourth-year starter Eric Fisher have agreed to a four-year extension, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
It’s a four-year, $48MM deal, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. The contract includes $22MM guaranteed at signing, features a new-money average of $12MM per year, and will pay out $28.5MM by March of 2017.
Kansas City recently exercised Fisher’s fifth-year option worth $11.9MM. The former No. 1 overall pick was set to earn $3.4MM this season. He’ll now be one of the highest-paid tackles in football, and the Chiefs have their starting tackles — Fisher and recently acquired Mitchell Schwartz — locked up through the rest of the decade.
However, this deal looks somewhat surprising due to the nature of the commitment. Fisher will now become one of the highest-paid left tackles in football on a per-year basis. Fisher’s deal looks to place him firmly within the top-five commitments at the position, with Tyron Smith and Cordy Glenn also earning $12MM per year. Trent Williams and Terron Armstead reside as the league’s previous $13MM-per-year tackles, with the former’s $13.2MM AAV representing the previous high.
In terms of guarantees, Fisher did extremely well. Armstead received $20.8MM guaranteed at signing and $38MM in total guarantees. Fisher and Lane Johnson are the only 2013 first-rounders to be extended yet, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com points out (via Twitter).
Fisher is coming off his best season as a pro, but few consider him to be among the league’s best tackles. He began the year out of the starting lineup after suffering a high-ankle sprain during the preseason and was briefly relocated to right tackle as the underwhelming and since-departed Donald Stephenson was slotted on the left side the Chiefs drafted Fisher to play. Although Fisher eventually resumed play on the left side and became a key presence during the Chiefs’ 10-game win streak, Pro Football Focus graded the 6-foot-7 blocker as its No. 36 overall tackle.
That assessment is by far the kindest the analytics site has been to the lineman, one who began his career at right tackle in 2013 before Branden Albert departed before moving to the left side a year later and not being particularly effective. But Saturday’s announcement on the first day of training camp shows the organization’s faith in Fisher’s potential despite his talents being questioned by many.
From a macro perspective, the Chiefs continued their massive investment in their current core. Despite failing to hammer out a contract with franchise-tagged cog Eric Berry earlier this month, Kansas City entered Saturday with barely $4MM in projected cap room next season. The Chiefs re-signed several players this offseason and gave Travis Kelce a top-market extension. That comes after extending Alex Smith and Justin Houston.
As a result of these commitments, Kansas City stands to have almost no cap space in ’17 and few avenues to create much more. Berry and Dontari Poe are the only members of the Chiefs’ nucleus without long-term deals. GM John Dorsey previously said Berry remains firmly in the Chiefs’ plans.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.