Early in the morning of March 11th, news broke that the Kansas City Chiefs released both of their starting tackles. The Chiefs General Manager, Brett Veach, likely came to this decision based on the salary cap and the tackles current health situations. The 2013 number 1 overall pick, Eric Fisher (LT), was set to take up $11 million in cap space and had just torn his Achilles against the Bills in the AFC championship game. Former All-Pro tackle, Mitchell Schwartz (RT), was going to take up $7 million and had back surgery after the Super Bowl. He sustained that back injury in week 6.
Why not Fisher?
Eric Fisher was set to be the next great left tackle when he was drafted in 2013. But, like most of his draft class, he has not been what the Chiefs thought he would become. He had a slow start to his career and which saw him allowed 7 sacks and 40+ pressures in each of his first two seasons. By his 3rd season in the NFL, he began to improve he began to allow fewer sacks and fewer pressures. From his 4th season on he became a quality starter in the NFL and earned two Pro-Bowl nods (2018,2020).
Many people could say that Fisher didn’t deserve his 2020 Pro Bowl nod. Chiefs fans are known for being tenacious fan voters when it comes to All-Star/Pro Bowl games. At one point during the 2015 MLB season, the Royals had seven players starting the All-Star game. They ended with five starters.
Whether you believe that Fisher is a Pro-Bowl quality left tackle is up to you. The biggest concern for Fisher isn’t his play on the field, it’s his health. As mentioned previously he tore his Achilles during the AFC championship game. This is a serious injury with a 4 to 6-month timetable to get back to full health. Even when he fully recoverers there is a chance he won’t be able to return to the level of play he was at with the Chiefs. His injury is also coupled with the fact that he will likely be looking for money outside of the Packers’ price range. Because of these reasons, I believe that the Packers should and will avoid Fisher.
Why not Schwartz?
Mitchell Schwartz was drafted in the 2nd round by the Cleveland Browns in 2012. Unlike Fisher, Schwartz had an instant impact. He was a member of the PFF All-Rookie Team and was seen as a top 10 right tackle during his following years as a Brown. In 2016, he joined the Kansas City Chiefs on a 5 year $33 million dollar contract. He continued to be one of the NFL’s best and during the 2018 season, he was named All-Pro. It wasn’t until the 2019 season when Schwartz would miss a single snap. In a loss to the Titians, he was forced out due to a knee injury. He missed three snaps which ended his 7,894 snap streak, the longest active at the time.
His knee injury turned out to be a minor issue. It wasn’t until week 6 of the 2020 season in which Schwartz injured his back. The injury occurred during practice before the game but he re-aggravated the injury during the game and was forced to come out. The back injury kept him out for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. Just after the Super Bowl Schwartz had surgery to repair his back.
Throughout the previous season Chiefs, fans wondered if Schwartz would be able to return and they were never given a clear answer as the season went on. Even the week of the Super Bowl there were rumors that Schwartz would be able to play. Those rumors turned out to just be rumors.
Because of his back surgery, Schwartz won’t be available for week 1 of next season and has no clear timetable for return. Like Fisher, Schwartz will also be looking for a salary likely out of the Packers range. The Packers shouldn’t be desperate enough to need to go after Schwartz.
Where to find O-Line help?
While Fisher and Schwartz aren’t good options for the Packers there are going to be plenty of quality free agents at an affordable price. This draft class is also rich with offensive line talent. That is where the Packers should start when looking for offensive linemen.
Follow me on Twitter @JayStrieby and follow us @WiscoHeroics1 for more great content. Check out our merch page here and use promo code Wisco at check out for $1 off!To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!