The Chiefs are finalizing a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension with $20 million guaranteed for guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a source told The Star on Monday.
Duvernay-Tardif, a sixth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been the Chiefs’ starter at right guard the last two years, starting 27 of a 32 possible regular-season games. Duvernay-Tardif, 26, was set to become a free agent in 2018, but the extension will keep him in Kansas City well into his prime.
NFL Network was first to report news about the contract.
The contract eclipses the four-year, $28 million deal former Chiefs guard Jeff Allen received from the Houston Texans last offseason, as well as the five years and $40 million Brandon Brooks received from the Philadelphia Eagles. Both Brooks and Allen were the same age as Duvernay-Tardif when they received their extensions.
Under his old contract, Duvernay-Tardif’s salary cap number was slated to be around $1.8 million in 2017.
The contract is the first significant investment the Andy Reid-John Dorsey regime has made along the interior offensive line since the coach and general manager arrived in Kansas City in 2013.
They traded for the since-retired Ben Grubbs in 2015 and gave him a four-year, $24 million extension, but that deal only had $8 million guaranteed. They’ve also let several productive players — Allen, Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson, guard Geoff Schwartz and guard Jon Asamoah — leave in free agency.
At 6 feet 5 and 321 pounds, Duvernay-Tardif possesses ideal size for a guard. That, plus his athleticism, originally endeared him to the Chiefs as a late-round draft pick in 2014.
Duvernay-Tardif did not attend the combine that year, but he did perform 33 bench-press reps and run a 4.94-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, and his overall testing numbers were in the top tier of offensive linemen in the 2014 draft. He was raw, playing only three years as an offensive lineman at McGill University in Canada, but the Chiefs liked his nastiness on the field and selected him in the sixth round with the 200th overall pick.
“I remember his technique was very wrong — he had only been at it for a couple of years,” offensive line coach Andy Heck said last summer. “(We) saw he was an extremely tenacious, competitive and brutally strong player — very talented.”
Heck said the Chiefs were also impressed by the focus it took to play football and study to be a doctor.
“He talked about the amount of work that goes into his studies in terms of his med school (and) his preparation for his next career after football, how much work (it is) to make that a reality but at the same time play at a high level of football,” Heck said. “So he said he has great focus, drive and intensity to get that work done. If anything, (it) shows his dedication to get that work done. He’s such a believable, earnest guy and that rang true.”
After spending the 2014 season as a backup behind fellow rookie sixth-round pick Zach Fulton, Duvernay-Tardif eventually seized a starting right guard job in 2015, starting 13 regular-season games before he was concussed in the Chiefs’ 30-0 wild-card playoff win at Houston.
Duvernay-Tardif bounced back in 2016, starting all but two regular-season games because of a high-ankle sprain, apparently playing well enough to earn a big-money extension.
“We had a good feel about what Larry is all about,” Heck said. “And he’s been (doing) nothing but proving us right.”