Mitchell Schwartz, PFF's No. 22 ranked free agent, has arguably been the best right tackle in the NFL in recent years.
Unfortunately, the former Chiefs' 2020 campaign was cut short after he sustained a back injury that later required minor surgery.
Kansas City went on to win the AFC Championship without its All-Pro right tackle, but the team suffered in the absence of both Schwartz and fellow injury casualty Eric Fisher in the Super Bowl: the Bucs' defense found it too easy to pour across the line to get to QB Patrick Mahomes, and Bruce Arians' team hoisted the Lombardi trophy as a result.
A back injury is bad news for the offensive lineman, and there have even been rumors that Schwartz may opt to retire before the 2021 NFL season gets back underway in the autumn. These two potential issues are likely the only reasons why Schwartz is still on the open market.
If Schwartz decides that his back is healed and that he wants to return to the NFL with another franchise, it's hard to think of an offensive line that the 32-year-old wouldn't strengthen significantly -- the former University of California, Berkeley graduate still has plenty left to offer the game, in my opinion.
With all that in mind, here are the top 3 potential landing spots for the former Kansas City Chiefs' right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz:
(in no particular order)
Schwartz would be a great signing for the Jacksonville Jaguars
There's barely a Mock Draft board you'll stumble across that doesn't have the Jaguars plucking for Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with their first-round, No. 1 overall pick.
Lawrence looks set to be a supreme talent, a franchise QB that the Jags can build a dynasty around, but even 2021's consensus agreed No.1 overall pick will find it's hard to be a great QB in the NFL if stuck operating behind a below-par offensive line.
With Brandon Linder and Andrew Norwell, the Jags do have true quality on the interior OL, but it's the tackle position where they have been struggling: Cam Robinson just put in his third disappointing year in a row at left tackle, and former second-round pick Jawaan Taylor's pass protection stats declined in his sophomore campaign. Taylor's pass-blocking grade fell from 69.0 in 2019 to 51.8 in 2020 via PFF, a huge concern, especially when one factors in the incoming Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars have $41 million in available cap room, meaning they can afford to pay Mitchell Schwartz the kind of salary he's used to getting (around $10 million per year, including add ons).
Signing Schwartz, an All-Pro, Super Bowl-winning left offensive tackle is - for my money at least -- an absolute no-brainer for the Jags -- honestly, I can't believe Urban Meyer hasn't rolled the red carpet out for the big man already!
Schwartz would offer Tua Tagovailoa reliable protection in Miami
Haters gonna hate, but in my most recent Mock Drafts, the Dolphins have emerged from the first round with one of Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater multiple times.
The Dolphins spent last year's No. 3 overall picks at the NFL Draft on QB Tua Tagovailoa, who, despite glimpses of promise, endured a turbulent campaign once he'd ousted Ryan Fitzpatrick from his starting spot come mid-season. A huge reason for Tua's below-par passing metrics were the disappointing individuals on the offensive line ahead of him, which PFF ranked 28th in the NFL.
It was hard to get a true read on Tua because of that permeable OL. When Tua represented Alabama in college, he had time in the pocket (not to mention genuine weapons in the receiving corps) to launch huge passes downfield, tallying up big yards and TDs in the process. Miami fans didn't get to see much of that last season; the rookie rarely had the time to dial anything up.
The Dolphins have already signed former Ravens center Matt Skura during free agency. Skura is a top player, unfortunate not to make a Pro Bowl in his career. If head coach Mike Tomlin were able to add Mitchell Schwartz to the roster, it would do two things: 1) provide Tua with the time he needs in the pocket to be the effective gunslinger we all saw at Alabama, and 2) it would free up that No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, meaning the Dolphins could focus more on further strengthening of the receiving corps or shoring up the defensive interior.
The Dolphins have about $10 million in available cap room and, as with the Jaguars above, could do much worse with that money than using it to lure Mitchell Schwartz to Hard Rock Stadium.
The New York Giants need to make big improvements to their OL if they are to challenge in the NFC East next season
New York's offensive line ranked 31st in the NFL via PFF in 2020, so big improvements are required if the Giants are to make the playoffs next season.
The Giants have already re-signed OT Cameron Fleming -- the former Patriot filled in for Nate Solder, who opted out last season -- but Fleming didn't exactly set the world alight in New York, allowing the 6th most pressures from the right tackle position in the entire NFL.
Mitchell Schwartz is an upgrade on both players, though Fleming could easily switch over to LT to accommodate the former Chief should this deal ever eventuate.
The Giants have about $9.5 million in available cap room, according to Spotrac.com, so, if the franchise is serious about getting back to winning ways, I'd be surprised if Schwartz wasn't at least a name being mentioned up in the war room.