Chiefs Named as a 'Best Landing Spot' for Veteran All-Pro Tackle: Does KC Need Him?

The Chiefs have been connected to a veteran former All-Pro offensive tackle, but do the Chiefs want to add a vet to their youthful left tackle battle?
Sep 24, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Injured Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari watches his team during the first quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Injured Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari watches his team during the first quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports / Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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The Kansas City Chiefs' most interesting training camp competition may come at the left tackle position in 2024, where rookie second-round pick Kingsley Suamataia and second-year third-round pick Wanya Morris are projected to battle for the starting position and the chance to be the Chiefs' long-term solution for protecting the blindside of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. KC's 2023 starting left tackle, Donovan Smith, remains a free agent as the Chiefs appear set to give the young contenders the first crack at the starting job.

That doesn't keep the Chiefs out of conversations about remaining available veterans, however, as KC has recently been connected to an older former All-Pro who could add competition to the position.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report assessed potential landing spots for remaining NFL free agents to see where those veteran players could sign ahead of the 2024 season. Ballentine led off with former Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and named the Chiefs as one of Bakhtiari's "best landing spots" in light of their battle of unproven players:

It's not hard to understand why David Bakhtiari finds himself without a team going into June. A difficult road back from an ACL injury and other ailments has caused him to miss all but 13 games over the last three seasons.
The 32-year-old played just one game in 2023 and one in 2021 with a 13-game campaign sandwiched in 2022.
The thing that gives Bakhtiari such enormous upside is his level of play when he's been on the field. He gave up no sacks in those 13 games and maintained a
PFF grade of 79.8 in his 2022 season.
The three-time Pro Bowler might not be one of the top five tackles in the league anymore, but he's played like an upper-tier talent when he's been on the field.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported in May that Bakhtiari is on track to play in the 2024 season after knee surgeries. Yet, there have been no takers for the former All-Pro tackle.
His best landing spots would be a team with an iffy tackle situation. He shouldn't be the team's only option, but anywhere that has an alternative lineup that would be better with the Colorado product at left tackle should consider adding him.
The Saints are a good example. With Troy Fautanu able to play either tackle or guard, they could sign the tackle and kick Fautanu inside if Bakhtiari can stay healthy.
The Patriots' plan at left tackle could use a veteran like Bakhtiari, and the Kansas City Chiefs could add him to their Wanya Morris vs. Kingsley Suamataia position battle.

Does David Bakhtiari make sense for the Kansas City Chiefs?

Understanding Ballentine's logic, I remain unconvinced. If the Chiefs are nervous about their Suamataia-Morris battle (which would be understandable given Suamataia's rookie status and Morris's decent but inconsistent play as a rookie), I'd expect them to make the call to Donovan Smith over Bakhtiari. If neither member of the young duo can take the starting job, it would be due to a lack of consistency at this stage in their careers. Bringing in Bakhtiari, perhaps the NFL's biggest injury gamble, doesn't provide much stability for that uncertain group.

Bakhtiari is an upside play — a belief in the best-case scenario having a chance to come through in 2024. The Chiefs' best-case scenario doesn't involve a veteran at all. KC would rather see Suamataia or Morris, two young players on rookie contracts, establish themselves as the no-doubt starter in Week 1, giving the Chiefs years of cost-controlled stability at a vital and expensive position. Even if the young LT contenders underwhelm ahead of the season, I don't see Bakhtiari being the player most likely to set the Chiefs' floor given his own durability and availability concerns.

Read More: Chiefs Believe Kingsley Suamataia is 'Good Competition' for Wanya Morris


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Joshua Brisco

JOSHUA BRISCO

Joshua Brisco is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Arrowhead Report on SI.com, covering the Kansas City Chiefs. Follow @jbbrisco.