Chiefs cut starting OTs Fisher, Schwartz to save cap space

Dave Skretta Ap Sports Writer
Thursday, March 11, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs released starting offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz on Thursday as they sought to squeeze under the salary cap.

Those moves will provide another obstacle in their quest to upgrade an offensive line ransacked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs were more than $22 million over the cap of $182.5 million that was set Wednesday. The release of Fisher and Schwartz saves about $18.3 million, leaving them able to restructure other contracts — and potentially extend players — and create enough financial wiggle room to maneuver in free agency.

Fisher and Schwartz were instrumental in helping the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers for their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. They also played a big part in helping them return to the big game, though both ultimately missed it with injuries.

Fisher tore his Achilles tendon in the AFC title game and Schwartz missed half the season with a back injury.

Both of them underwent surgery and while general manager Brett Veach said recently that they could be back by the start of the season, the cost of keeping them on the roster coupled with the uncertainty of their recovery made them natural cuts.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for both Eric and Mitchell,” Veach said in a statement. ”With Eric, obviously he was the very first player we drafted when we got to Kansas City, and we were able to watch him grow into a solid tackle for us for many years. With Mitchell, his durability and toughness is remarkable and he certainly left his mark on our team. These decisions are never easy, especially with guys like these, but both of these players will forever be a part of our history.”

The Chiefs selected the 30-year-old Fisher first overall in the 2013 draft, shortly after coach Andy Reid was hired and Veach arrived on then-GM John Dorsey’s staff. His rookie season was a bit shaky, but Fisher developed into one of the league’s best left tackles, earning nods to the Pro Bowl in 2018 and last season.

The Chiefs signed the 31-year-old Schwartz in 2016 to bookend with Fisher on a revamped offensive line. He was voted an All-Pro in 2018 and proved to be among the most durable right tackles in the game, starting 134 consecutive games dating to his days with the Cleveland Browns before his back injury occurred in Week 6 against Buffalo.

“I’d like to thank Eric and Mitch for all of their contributions over the years,” Reid said. “Every day both of these men came to work with the right attitude, ready to grind, both on the field and in the classroom. These guys are both dirty tough, but beyond that, they’re good people and I enjoyed coaching them. I wish them the best as they continue their careers.”

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