Chiefs find new left tackle for Patrick Mahomes with reported Donovan Smith deal

The Kansas City Chiefs once again appear to have a new plan to protect Patrick Mahomes' blind side.

The team landed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith on a one-year, $9 million deal in free agency Wednesday, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, adding another veteran to an offensive line looking to replace departed Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr.

Brown, who made the Pro Bowl in both of his seasons with the Chiefs, left the team earlier this offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals, who gave him a four-year, $64 million deal with $31 million guaranteed.

The 29-year-old Smith had started at left tackle for the Bucs since they took him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, winning a Super Bowl in the 2020 season. In Pro Football Focus' metrics, he ranked 66th out of 81 offensive tackles last season (Brown ranked 19th).

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 18: Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Donovan Smith (76) pass blocks during the regular season game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 18, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Donovan Smith will go from protecting Tom Brady to protecting Patrick Mahomes. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

How the Chiefs are handling OL without Orlando Brown Jr.

Two days before Brown was reported to be signing with the Bengals, the Chiefs landed former Jacksonville Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor on a four-year, $80 million deal with $60 million guaranteed with the stated hope of using him to replace Brown at left tackle.

That plan was seen as risky given that the Chiefs were paying Taylor more than Brown ended up receiving to play a position he had never seriously played before in the NFL, but now that plan appears to be changing.

Per Pelissero, Smith will line up at left tackle and Taylor at right "if all goes well." Both starting tackle spots were open because the Chiefs lost starting right tackle Andrew Wylie to the Washington Commanders on a three-year, $24 million deal.

If Smith proves to be up to snuff, he'll be taking on arguably the most important offensive line job in football, protecting Mahomes. If not, he could still be a swing tackle while the Chiefs figure out what to do with Taylor, returning player Lucas Niang and third-round rookie Wanya Morris.