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Kelechi Osemele signs with Chiefs

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The former Raiders and Ravens guard is back in the AFC West

Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs signed guard Kelechi Osemele to a one-year deal this week to replace Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted out of the 2020 season for health and safety reasons because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A sixth round pick out of Iowa in 2012, Osemele started every game at right tackle for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens that year. He missed nine games in 2013, then started 28 of a possible 32 at left guard over the next two seasons. The Oakland Raiders then signed Osemele to a five-year, $60 million contract in 2016 to form one of the best units in the NFL by playing in between Donald Penn and Rodney Hudson.

Osemele was a first team All-Pro in 2016 and made the Pro Bowl in both 2016 and 2017. After missing five games in 2018, the Raiders traded Osemele to the New York Jets for a fifth round pick last March. He played in three games but Osemele had shoulder surgery without the team’s approval and he was subsequently fined and release. The Jets felt the surgery could wait and Osemele said he would no longer take painkillers and was insistent on preparing for 2020 instead.

Osemele and his agent said at the time they’d be fighting against the Jets fines and recouping his lost wages but I have not seen any updates on that matter.

He now joins a Chiefs offensive line fresh off of winning the Super Bowl with a pair of quality tackles in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. If he returns to his Raiders self, Kansas City gets a potential upgrade over Duvernay-Tardif, who will be working as an orderly this season instead of playing in the NFL. If the shoulder or age or anything else happens to hinder him beyond what he’s comfortable with, the Chiefs may have a vulnerability on the interior of their offensive line.

The Raiders and Chiefs first meet this season on October 11.