Chiefs Free Agency 2023: New tackle Jawaan Taylor says he’s ‘ready when we get in touch’

On Thursday, the Kansas City Chiefs unveiled their new tackle Jawaan Taylor – with whom they agreed a four-year deal when the NFL’s “legal manipulations” began on Monday.

After playing proper tackle mostly for the Jacksonville Jaguars in his first four seasons, the $80 million contract initially felt like an overkill. But it soon transpired that the Chiefs were planning to switch Taylor to left tackle to replace Orlando Brown Jr. – who reached an agreement with the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday.

Taylor addressed the change of position in his opening remarks to reporters.

“I was definitely told about the left tackle position,” he confirmed. “I feel like I’m definitely sporty enough to make the move. I’m very versatile so I feel like I can go out and make the transition pretty seamlessly. But at the end of the day, if they need me to switch and play other positions, I’m open to it. I’m just here to help this team win championships.”

He doesn’t anticipate any problems with the potential move — especially given the reputation of the Chiefs’ coaching staff.

Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

“Left tackle, right tackle – honestly just a hip movement,” Taylor claimed. “Other than that if you are athletic enough and trust your feet and also have great coaching – [and] I know this is here – I have a feeling this transition is going to be pretty good.”

Taylor’s first experience in the left tackle came in 2017 while he was still a member of the Florida Gators. Although he is now years away from that time, he is glad to have found another route to this position.

“It was fun,” the 25-year-old recalls. “At the time we had a couple of injuries on the team and had to move the guys around the line. They trusted me to go there and play left tackle for the last two games of the season. Now I have the opportunity to play it again. I’m really looking forward to it – and I’m taking the opportunity.

“So I’m just getting ready to go. I should be ready when we report back.”

Even among experts on the offensive line, the degree of difficulty of changing sides is discussed. Taylor acknowledges that Kansas City has recent experience with the task in front of him.

Brown was primarily a right tackle with the Baltimore Ravens before switching to the left flank as an injury substitute in 2020. During his two seasons at Kansas City, he saw his switch to left tackle become permanent. Brown has twice been called up to the Pro Bowl as chief and helped the team win Super Bowl LVII last month.

Taylor sees Brown’s success as motivation as he begins his own transition.

“He’s a great player — with great feet,” Taylor said of Brown. “[A] very long [and] very versatile guy. To see such guys being able to switch is amazing to see. That gives me a lot of courage – and I hope that I can do it too.”

Familiarity with offense is another reason to believe Taylor’s switch to left tackle will be a success. In his final season in Jacksonville, he played for head coach Doug Pederson — a protégé of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and a former Kansas City offensive coordinator.

Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

While agreeing that the offensive systems are similar, Taylor explained that the situation and the talent around him — namely quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce — played a bigger role in his decision to come to Kansas City.

“They have similarities,” he agreed. “Learning a offense is nothing new to me — I’ve learned a new offense every year since I’ve been in the NFL. That was the least of my worries. The reason I chose [the Chiefs] I just felt like it was a great opportunity.

“A chance to play under manager Andy Reid – and play with great players like Mahomes and Kelce and other guys on the team… I just wanted to embrace change. I’ve never lived outside of Florida in my life. I had the opportunity to come and try something new and be in a great organization. I was for it.”

It’s one thing to want it play with the best quarterback in the league. However, other offensive linemen have learned that blocking because the face of the league is under increased pressure — and because the NFL MVP likes to improvise and lengthen plays, he’s sometimes harder to protect.

Taylor seems up for the challenge.

“Honestly, I don’t feel like it affects my work,” he said of Mahomes’ unpredictability. “If I need to hold my block longer, I need to do that. At the end of the day I know he can use his feet too.

“So if he needs to go out and play with his feet, he can do that. I look forward to playing with a guy of his caliber – and going out and holding him up.

“I’m definitely excited.”

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