The more, the merrier.
The Kansas City Chiefs continue to stockpile interior linemen.
The latest signing was Austin Blythe, who met with the local media for the first time Monday, to a one-year, $990,000 deal.
Though fully guaranteed, that sum is a very affordable deal for the Chiefs and is cheaper than the one they gave Kyle Long and far cheaper than what they gave Joe Thuney.
The question is where Blythe will play.
After Brian Allen suffered a knee injury, Blythe started all 16 games at center for the Los Angeles Rams in 2020 but started at right guard the year before. He also played both guard and center at Iowa from 2013 to 2016.
“Wherever my piece may fit, that’s what I’m gonna do,” Blythe said. “I’m comfortable in any of those three spots.”
For what it’s worth, the Chiefs currently list him as a center on their website, and the two players who started at that position last year — Austin Reiter (for 12 games) and Daniel Kilgore (for four) — remain free agents.
Nick Allegretti, who showed promise last season while starting nine games at guard, is another option at center.
If Allegretti remains at guard, he will have plenty of competition. The Chiefs signed Thuney to a five-year, $80 million contract and Long to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Andrew Wylie should factor into the interior mix as well, and even Kelechi Osemele, who started five games last year before suffering season-ending knee injuries, has reportedly been working out at the team facility.
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Mike Remmers, who the Chiefs re-signed to a one-year deal, has started at both guard and tackle. Even Long started at right tackle in 2015.
That positional versatility along the offensive line is something the Chiefs value and helps the team in case myriad injuries strike the unit like they did last year.
Offensive line coach Andy Heck cross-trains his lineman, giving them repetitions at various spots along the offensive line.
“Andy Heck does a great job with maneuvering people around,” Andy Reid said, “and giving them opportunities to play all the different positions.”
Tackle, though, remains a position of need. The Chiefs released last year’s Week One starters at left and right tackle — Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, respectively — to clear salary cap space.
And when last seen operating without Fisher and Schwartz, Patrick Mahomes had to run for his life in Super Bowl LV. He ran an astounding 497 yards before throwing the ball or being sacked and was hit eight times and sacked three times in that game.
But having played in that Super Bowl and three straight AFC Championship Games is part of the winning culture that attracted Blythe.
“I just wanted to be here,” he said, “and come and play for a great organization, a great team.”
Also appealing was the chance to snap to a generational player in Mahomes, who he spoke with in the Chiefs training room.
Blythe knows the significance of the leader of the offensive line being in sync with the leader of the team on both snaps and blocking assignments.
“It’s very important,” Blythe said. “The offense kind of goes how that relationship goes.”
The signing also brings Blythe back to the area in which he was born. His parents lived in Liberty, Mo., before moving to Williamsburg, Iowa.
While living in an adjoining state to Missouri, the Blythes rooted for the Chiefs.
But he still has much to learn about the area. He admitted he’s not a huge barbecue fan yet and said he enjoys pulled pork without barbecue sauce.
“I don’t know if I’m going to get roasted for that,” he said.
Surely, if he can keep Mahomes safe and sound, the local fans will forgive a native son.
“Coming full circle here,” Blythe said, “I have Kansas City roots and am excited to explore the city as an adult.”