KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Jawaan Taylor has agreed to an $80 million, four-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs to replace Orlando Brown Jr. as the blindside protector for Patrick Mahomes, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract cannot become official until Wednesday, when the NFL’s new year officially starts and free agents can begin signing contracts.
The 25-year-old Taylor started all 66 games he’s played in since entering the league as a second-round pick of the Jaguars in the 2019 draft. While he primarily held down the right side of the line in Jacksonville, the expectation is that – much as Brown did when he arrived from Baltimore – Taylor will switch to the left side in Kansas City.
The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Brown a year ago, when they could not agree to a long-term deal with his new representative. He wound up playing the season for $16.7 million under terms of the tag, helping the Chiefs beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl, and the sides again worked on a long-term deal.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach expressed some optimism in a contract at the NFL scouting combine.
Yet it quickly became evident that the sides were still far from a middle ground, and the price tag to put Brown on the franchise tag for a second year would have cost about $20 million. So the Chiefs, who are expected to lose right tackle Andrew Wylie in free agency, opted to move quickly on Taylor to fill the left tackle spot.
He gave up a league-leading 40 sacks from 2019 to 2021, but he experienced a breakout year protecting Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville last season. He allowed only six sacks and had one of the league’s lowest pressure rates among tackles.
The Chiefs still would still have a hole at right tackle, but Lucas Niang could fill that role after dealing with a litany of injuries, and Veach has been successful in finding quailty offensive linemen in the NFL draft.
That includes center Creed Humphy and right guard Trey Smith, both of them draft picks two years ago, who along with left guard Joe Thuney have formed one of the most durable and successful interior lines in the league.
The Chiefs could be busy in free agency as they retool for a Super Bowl defense.
They’re poised to lose wide receiers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson, though there is mutual interest in bringing Smith-Schuster back after a successful season in Kansas City. The Chiefs also must find a replacement for veteran defensive end Frank Clark, whom they released to create some salary cap relief, and safety Juan Thornhill, who may have played himself into a longer-term deal than the Chiefs are willing to offer.
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