With the recent cuts of tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz that were made by the Chiefs’ General Manager, the 2021 offseason will definitely test his legacy.
Brett Veach has been making high-profile moves every offseason since he’s been in Kansas City. He was detrimental in the Chiefs trading up to get quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft when he wasn’t even the general manager yet. In an article with the Washington Post, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt explained how important Veach was in that process.
“Brett, obviously with retrospect now, did a tremendous job on scouting Patrick and then getting first, Andy, and then later, John Dorsey, excited about him. It truly was an organizational decision to draft him, so I don’t want to minimize that, but Brett deserves a lot of the credit.”Chiefs owner Clark Hunt
After becoming the general manager, Brett Veach spent his first full offseason trading away the team’s starting quarterback and number one cornerback. Granted, Alex Smith getting traded was inevitable because of what the team had sitting on the bench, the move to trade Marcus Peters however was definitely a hot topic among Chiefs fans. Veach also spent big money on wide receiver Sammy Watkins to pair alongside Tyreek Hill and voided the contract of longtime veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson.
In 2019, Brett Veach really made some waves by cutting veteran defensive players Justin Houston and Eric Berry, and trading linebacker Dee Ford to the 49ers. Replacing those guys was going to be hard, but the Veach was able to pull it off by trading for defensive end Frank Clark and signing safety Tyrann Mathieu. Those moves, along with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, helped revamp a defense that was able to bring home a Super Bowl trophy.
With a Super Bowl in hand, Brett Veach made some huge in-house moves the following offseason. Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, and Patrick Mahomes all received blockbuster contract extensions. Mahomes was able to break the bank and receive the largest contract in sports history that will keep him in Kansas City until 2032. Veach doesn’t appear to be gun-shy when making headlines in the offseason and so far, he has a Super Bowl ring and the face of the league under center to show for it.
This offseason is in the early stages, but Brett Veach is at it again. On Thursday morning it was announced that the Chiefs have released both starting tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.
Fisher was the league’s first overall draft pick in 2013 and started 113 regular-season games plus 11 playoff games for the Chiefs. He was selected to his second Pro Bowl this past season. Schwartz was brought in as a free agent in 2016 after four seasons in Cleveland. He was an All-Pro in 2018 and never missed a start until week seven of this past season when he was sidelined with a back injury that ultimately ended his season.
Eric Fisher tore his Achilles in the AFC Championship game back in January, so both men were unavailable for the Super Bowl. Their presence was missed, too. Patrick Mahomes was sacked three times and was hit a total of 10 times. The offense as a whole was out of sync and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since November 19th, 2017. Alex Smith was the quarterback in that game.
Since the offense operated so poorly without Fisher and Schwartz in the lineup, it is a bit shocking to see both of them getting released from the team. However, the 2021 salary cap did drop from $198.2 million to $182.5 million, and releasing both men clears up to $18 million in cap space. This will probably be a common trend across the league, but one still has to wonder: Is this the best move to try to keep your $500 million quarterback healthy?
This move will certainly be scrutinized across the league every time Patrick Mahomes gets hit, but so was every other move. Every headline-worthy move that Brett Veach has made since he has been in Kansas City has been questioned, including drafting Patrick Mahomes.
Since Brett Veach became the general manager in 2017, the Chiefs have never lost the division, only failed to reach the AFC Championship game once, and have been to two Super Bowls, while winning one. There is no reason that Chiefs fans or anyone who follows football should ever doubt anything that Veach does in the offseason because the results are there consistently on the field. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz were vital parts of this organization. They will be greatly missed and fondly remembered, but I am excited to see who Brett Veach brings in to replace them.