The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to a $5 million contract for next season with three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long, who will come out of retirement to help their rebuilt offensive line, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.
The Chiefs also agreed to one-year deals to keep running back Darrel Williams, linebacker Ben Niemann and defensive end Taco Charlton, sources told The AP. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals have not been announced.
The Chiefs tendered wide receiver Byron Pringle and offensive lineman Andrew Wylie as well.
Long, whose deal was first reported by ESPN.com, went to three consecutive Pro Bowls with the Bears before injuries derailed his promising career. First came an ankle injury in 2016, then neck, shoulder, and elbow injuries that hampered him the following season. In 2018, it was a foot injury that sidelined Long midway through the season, and a hip injury during the 2019 season landed him on injured reserve for what appeared to be the final time.
But after spending last season doing studio work for CBS, Long decided to make a comeback this offseason. He had visited with the AFC West-rival Raiders before agreeing to a contract with the Chiefs.
Earlier this week, they agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract with former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney, giving them a pair of former Pro Bowl selections to anchor general manager Brett Veach’s reshaped offensive line.
Kansas City was decimated by opt-outs and injuries last season and was ultimately exposed by Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl, making the boys protecting Patrick Mahomes an offseason priority. The rebuild began with releasing injured tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz to create salary-cap space, then continued with landing Thuney for a guard spot.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is expected to return after opting out of last season, filling the other guard spot. But that still left the Chiefs in search of a center and two tackles. One of those jobs could belong to Lucas Niang, a third-round pick in last year’s draft who opted out of his rookie season because of the pandemic, while it’s possible Long could move to tackle. He started all 16 games on the right side for Chicago during the 2015 season.
Charlton joined the Chiefs last season after the 2017 first-round pick spent two seasons in Dallas and one in Miami. He started only 12 games during that span, but he appeared to be resurrecting his career in Kansas City, where he rotated with former Michigan teammate Frank Clark before breaking his ankle in a game against Carolina in Week 9.
Williams will get $930,000 guaranteed and up to $2.13 million on his contract, according to The Kansas City Star. The 25-year-old joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and has become a dependable change-of-pace back.
The move to tender Pringle, who would get $2.18 million next season unless another team offers a better deal, was widely expected after the former undrafted free agent had a strong season. Along with being a special teams standout, he came back from a season-ending injury in his rookie season to catch 13 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.
Wylie has proven to be a valuable offensive lineman and the first name called when there’s been an injury up front.
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