As Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports, the Chiefs have agreed to terms with first-round pick Eric Fisher on a four-year contract. According to a source, the deal is believed to be for $22 million, all of which is guaranteed. The contract also contains an option for a fifth year.
There was a holdup with the deal as a result of "offset language," which protects a team financially against having to pay the full amount of a guaranteed deal if a player is waived and then signs with another club. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, the Chiefs won on that front, but not without making a concession of their own:
In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football talk reports that nearly half of that $22 million will be paid within five days, and $14.5 million will have been paid by next year.
More important than who won what financially, though, is this little fact pointed out by Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star:
For a team that won all of two games last year, having the entire offensive line healthy and in camp is no small feat, especially given how big a part Fisher is set to play on that line.
Fisher wasted no time in getting into camp once terms were set.
Fisher told Reid Ferrin of the Chiefs' website that's largely because he's been chomping at the bit to get after it.
I’m real excited to be here. Just had to get that contract done but, I’m really looking forward getting to training camp here, joining the team and glad we could get to an agreement and get it done.
Offensive line coach Andy Heck is also very eager to get Fisher on the practice field according to Ferrin.
He was my favorite offensive lineman in this draft. He’s a guy that I felt could help this football team. We’ve added a tremendous offensive lineman, a guy that I think can excel in this league, play at a high level and we’re adding him to a solid group and that’s just going to make us better as a football team. I’m very pleased that we were able to add a football player as good as he is.
The 6'7", 306-pound Fisher, who rocketed up draft boards after a dominant week at the Senior Bowl and strong combine showing, has drawn comparisons to Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock has already labeled him a future Pro Bowler at left tackle.
However, with Branden Albert still with the Chiefs (at least for 2013), Fisher's NFL career will begin at right tackle, where he'll have a season to acclimate to the NFL game before switching to quarterback Alex Smith's blind side.
Given that the Chiefs ranked 19th in run blocking and 27th in pass protection last year, according to Football Outsiders, Smith and new head coach Andy Reid can use all the help they can get up front. Now, Fisher can get down to the business of learning the NFL game.
With some pundits tabbing the Chiefs for marked improvement in Reid's first year, it's vital that the team avoid significant injuries and major distractions in camp.
There may not be a whole lot that can be done about the former. However, by getting this deal for Fisher done now, the Chiefs have done a good job of dodging the latter and setting up Smith with a pair of good young edge protectors for the upcoming campaign.