The Chiefs’ Orlando Brown trade appears to have closed the book on an Eric Fisher return, ending that era at eight years. Although Fisher has experience at right tackle, having played there as a rookie, the former No. 1 overall pick figures to head elsewhere.
Given Fisher’s resume and experience level, he profiles as an interesting option for a team in need at left tackle. Teams are monitoring the free agent blocker, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicating the 30-year-old lineman has spoken to “numerous teams” this offseason (Twitter link).
Fisher will be an after-the-draft option for teams, per RapSheet. A torn Achilles led the two-time Pro Bowler to free agency; the Chiefs also cut All-Pro Mitchell Schwartz. Andy Reid said earlier this week the team could circle back to both, but Kansas City’s deal for Brown stands to cut off Fisher’s path back to western Missouri.
While scrutinized for years due to his draft slot, the former mid-major standout has proven reliable for a while. From 2014-18, Fisher did not miss a game due to injury. A core muscle issue limited him to eight regular-season games in 2019, but the Chiefs’ Super Bowl push — a nine-game win streak — began when Fisher returned to the lineup that November. Counting the playoffs, Fisher started 17 games last season. He graded as a top-20 tackle, per Pro Football Focus, in 2020.
Most teams have addressed this high-value position, but a few should be in the market for help. However, this draft features some first- and second-round options that will help some of the teams with deficiencies here fill the spots. The Colts have signed Sam Tevi and Julie’n Davenport this offseason but are still looking for a left tackle. The Steelers have not re-signed Alejandro Villanueva, who is entering his age-35 season. Washington is also searching for a left tackle.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco indicated he is bullish on Trey Pipkins, the Bolts have been busy restocking their O-line this year and appear in need here as well. Pipkins, who has started eight games over his first two seasons, graded outside PFF’s top 70 tackles last season. The 2019 third-round pick will likely have competition, at best, or a surefire replacement, at worst, going into the ’21 slate.
Fisher’s Achilles injury certainly sidetracked his career (and the Chiefs’ repeat championship aspirations), but the veteran should have a path to a starting job come training camp — so long as his recovery proceeds on track.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.