Kingsley Suamataia

AFC West Notes: Franklin-Myers, Broncos, Brady, Raiders, OL, Chiefs, Cook, Chargers

As the Jets work on a solution to bring trade acquisition Haason Reddick into the fold, the Broncos have longtime Gang Green D-line starter John Franklin-Myers penciled into a starting post. Franklin-Myers is expected to start alongside Zach Allen and D.J. Jones in Vance Joseph‘s 3-4 scheme. The Broncos acquired the 27-year-old D-lineman for only a 2026 sixth-round pick, with the deal amounting to a salary dump on the Jets’ part. Denver reworked Franklin-Myers’ deal, with terms (two years, $15MM) north of where a Jets pay-cut offer came in, and improved one of their DE spots from last season. The former Rams draftee said (via ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold) he spoke with Joseph and Broncos senior defensive assistant Joe Vitt about how he would fit in Denver’s scheme, helping move the trade across the goal line.

While significant questions remain about the Broncos’ viability as a contender, the team has experienced cogs at just about every spot across both lines. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Chiefs boast experience at four positions on their offensive front, but the reigning champions’ left tackle post is unsettled as of now. Second-round pick Kingsley Suamataia looks to hold an early lead on 2023 third-rounder Wanya Morris for the job, per The Athletic’s Nate Taylor. Suamataia took the majority of the first-team reps during minicamp. Training camp will, of course, provide a clearer indication of this position battle (subscription required). Should Suamataia end up losing the competition, it would stand to reason he would have a shot to eventually claim it as he develops. But the BYU product is off to a nice start, albeit in unpadded work.
  • Down Bryan Cook for their final nine games due to an ankle injury, the Chiefs saw the third-year safety participate fully in minicamp, Taylor adds. This certainly brings good news, given that Cook was carted off Lambeau Field in early December. The Chiefs, who lost fill-in Mike Edwards to the Bills this offseason, are once again planning to turn to Cook and Justin Reid as their starting safeties.
  • Trey Pipkinsmove to guard is looking likely to produce a starting opportunity. Pipkins joined Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson, Bradley Bozeman and Joe Alt in taking every first-team rep during the team’s final OTA and the minicamp open to media, The Athletic’s Daniel Popper writes. Jim Harbaugh said this group is on track to be a “top-tier” O-line. A career-long tackle, Pipkins’ guard move has been in the works for a bit now. Two seasons remain on his three-year, $21.75MM deal.
  • Jim Leonhard interviewed for the Eagles’ defensive coordinator job last year and appeared the frontrunner for the Packers’ DC gig in 2021. After leaving his Wisconsin DC post following the 2022 season, Leonhard spent last year as an analyst at Illinois. Sean Payton hired Leonhard to coach the Broncos‘ DBs this year and said (via DNVR Sports’ Zac Stevens) he attempted to hire the former safety in 2023. Leonhard undergoing a hip replacement delayed this partnership, but he has since replaced Christian Parker, who joined the Eagles this offseason.
  • Nearly 13 months have passed since Tom Brady agreed to buy a Raiders stake. The owners continue to table the matter, with multiple issues — from the stake price (since resolved) to the conflict of interest with Brady’s FOX job — coming up. Owners did not discuss this at last month’s meetings, but the Washington Post’s Mark Maske notes Brady still is more likely than not to end up a Raiders minority owner. Roger Goodell said Brady’s access to team facilities and practices would need to be addressed if he is approved. Barring a special session, the owners’ next chance to vote in Brady as a Raiders part-owner comes in October.

Chiefs Sign Round 2 T Kingsley Suamataia

Donovan Smith remains in free agency, setting up an interesting battle of inexperienced blockers to take over for the defending Super Bowl champions at left tackle. One of those will be second-round pick Kingsley Suamataia.

The BYU product is now under contract, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. Suamataia will be tied to a four-year deal. Contracts at the back end of the second round do not carry the intrigue those at the front do, as changing guarantee structures have become part of the process associated with signing early-second-round picks. Suamataia went off the board 63rd overall.

Last season’s two Super Bowl entrants linked up on a trade that allowed the Chiefs to move up one spot for the recent Big 12 blocker. The 49ers picked up an additional fifth-rounder in the pick-swap exchange, one that saw the defending NFC champions move down one spot. While first-round pick Xavier Worthy will almost definitely play a key role as a rookie, Suamataia will be expected to mount a strong charge to replace Smith in 2024. Worthy is the only player left unsigned from the Chiefs’ draft class.

The Chiefs were connected to Suamataia before the draft, hosting him on a “30” visit. Viewed by most as a tier below the deep crop of first-round-level tackles in this class, the ex-Cougars starter will attempt to develop quickly to start as a rookie. While numerous members of this year’s rookie class used their additional years granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Suamataia did not and has not yet turned 22. This qualifies him as a somewhat raw prospect, though the 6-foot-5, 326-pound tackle did start in both his BYU seasons — after transferring from Oregon.

Suamataia will be pitted against 2023 third-round pick Wanya Morris for the Chiefs’ LT job, one Smith held when healthy throughout last season. The longtime Buccaneers LT, who picked up a second Super Bowl ring last season, could conceivably be an insurance option for the Chiefs. Though, as of now, he is not. It will be interesting to see if Smith lands elsewhere; that would solidify this Morris-Suamataia competition and create an experience void for a team that returns most of its starting lineup from Super Bowl LVIII. Morris started four games as a rookie.

Wanya Morris, Kingsley Suamataia To Compete For Chiefs’ Starting LT Role

When healthy, Donovan Smith handled left tackle duties last season for the Chiefs. The longtime Buccaneers blindside protector was not re-signed this offseason, though, setting the stage for a training camp competition to replace him.

Wanya Morris logged four starts during his rookie season when Smith was sidelined through injury. The third-rounder surrendered a pair of sacks and 27 pressures when on the field, per PFF, resulting in a 55.6 overall grade. Morris is the top option amongst returnees to take on a starting role, but Kansas City’s second player selected in last month’s draft will also have the opportunity to win the job.

The Chiefs traded up one spot late in the second round to draft Kingsley SuamataiaOne of a comparatively small number of true juniors in the 2024 class, Suamataia transferred from Oregon to BYU in 2022 and he took on first-team duties with the Cougars during both of his seasons with the team. The 6-4, 326-pounder played at right tackle in 2022 before switching to the blindside last season. His level of play will provide Morris with an intriguing competitor for a first-team role.

“In the middle of the season he got an opportunity there [with] some good, some bad,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said when speaking about the latter (via ESPN’s Adam Teicher). “If you look at his body of work last year, I think on one end you’re happy that he was able to come in at the pro level and be competitive. It wasn’t perfect but it also was solid play that I think is a good foundation to build and grow on.

“He’s got to come in here and win that position [and] I think it’s our job to go out there and find competition for that left tackle spot. I think that there’s a lot of promise in there and there’s a lot of ability, but certainly I think it’s our job to bring in some competition there and make him earn that and work for it.”

Kansas City signed Jawaan Taylor in free agency last offseason. His four-year, $80MM deal seemed to position him for left tackle duties, but Smith’s arrival left him at his familiar right tackle spot. The fact that Morris and Suamataia will be battling for the first-team blindside role confirms Taylor will remain on the right side for 2024 and beyond, if things go according to plan for the two-time defending champions up front.

Kansas City is already set at left guard (Joe Thuney), center (Creed Humphrey) and right guard (Trey Smith) along the interior in addition to Taylor remaining the right tackle starter. The competition between Morris and Suamataia – which, of course, will not truly begin until padded practices take place in training camp – to complete the unit will be a notable storyline for the team this summer.

Chiefs Trade Up One Spot In Second Round, Swap With 49ers

The Chiefs could not wait one pick longer and opted to make a deal with the 49ers to move up one spot in the second round. In order to convince San Francisco to switch spots, they gave the 49ers their own second-round pick (64th) and a fifth-rounder (173rd). The 49ers gave them the 63rd pick and a sixth-round, 211th overall selection.

With the trade, the Chiefs moved ahead of San Francisco in order to draft BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia. Suamataia started his career at Oregon before transferring to the Cougars. He started his redshirt freshman season for BYU at right tackle in 2022, earning Freshman All-American honors. The following year, the Cougars moved him to left tackle, where he started 11 games and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.

The Chiefs are looking for a new player to start at tackle across from Jawaan Taylor in 2024. Their 2023 left tackle stopgap — Donovan Smith — remains in free agency. The team returns Wanya Morris and Lucas Niang, two third-round picks from the past four years, but neither has established himself as a reliable starter on the offensive line. Kansas City had been linked to the 21-year-old earlier this week, hosting him on a “top 30” visit.

While some teams viewed him as a potential late-first-round option, Suamataia was viewed by many as a project at tackle, expecting some time to be needed for development. If the Chiefs are in a hurry, they may rush Suamataia out there early, regardless, but if they can afford to have Morris or Niang hold down the fort until Suamataia has some time to learn and grow, both the Chiefs and their new rookie tackle could stand to benefit.