Thursday, March 13, 2014
Versatility is key for Jeff Linkenbach
By Adam Teicher
John Dorsey and Andy Reid appreciate versatility in offensive linemen maybe more than most general managers and coaches. That best explains why one of their first moves in free agency for the Kansas City Chiefs was to sign veteran Jeff Linkenbach.
Linkenbach has played everywhere on the offensive line except center. That versatility was attractive to the Chiefs as they remodel their offensive line after losing Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah in free agency.
The Chiefs have a spot open in their starting lineup at right guard. Linkenbach could eventually fill it. A better guess is the Chiefs will find that starter through the draft, free agency or even on their own roster while Linkenbach becomes the first reserve off the bench at both tackle and guard.
The Chiefs didn't have any competition this early in the free agency signing period for Linkenbach, who played the past four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. That is not to say a market wouldn't have eventually developed for him. But the fact the Chiefs were in on him alone this early suggests they wanted a lineman with the ability to play many different positions.
"I think there's always interest for a guy who has as much versatility as I have," Linkenbach said Thursday.
"It's where I get the most reps during the week that I feel the most comfortable during that week. I've played all four guard and tackle positions. I feel comfortable pretty much everywhere. In college, I was a tackle. But the past couple of years I've played more guard."
Linkenbach's signing is similar to last year's free-agent addition of Schwartz, another versatile offensive lineman. Linkenbach also signed a one-year contract, his worth $900,000. Of that, $750,000 is in base salary, $150,000 in workout bonus.
His guarantee is $250,000, which means the Chiefs could release him at little cost later.