Chiefs release Ben Grubbs, have in-house options to consider at LG

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Left guard Ben Grubbs’ short time with the Chiefs came to an end Thursday.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Chiefs announced the release of Grubbs, a two-time Pro Bowl selection on his nine-year career, less than a year after acquiring him in a trade with the New Orleans Saints on March 12, 2015.

The 6-3, 310-pound Grubbs began the season as the starting left guard, but suffered a neck injury in Week 7 and finished the season on injured reserve.

Grubbs’ release leaves a hole, but the Chiefs have in-house options as potential fills, including Paul Fanaika, Zach Fulton, Jarrod Pughsley and Michael Liedtke.

The 6-5, 327-pound Fanaika joined the Chiefs on a three-year deal last year, but landed on injured reserve with a back injury before the regular season started.

Fanaika’s rehabilitation has gone well and he is on track to be available when the Chiefs begin the voluntary offseason workout program in late April, a source familiar with his recovery informed and The Topeka Capital-Journal.

While Fanaika didn’t have an opportunity to showcase his abilities, his younger cousin, Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika, took a moment to offer a scouting report at the recently-concluded Combine.

“Paul’s got a great punch,” Jason Fanaika said. “He’s one of the strongest dudes as far as football-wise. He’s a great run blocker.”

Meanwhile, the 6-5, 317-pound Fulton has shown the past two seasons he can play inside at right guard, center and left guard.

Fulton started all 16 regular-season games at right guard during his rookie campaign in 2014, and then started three regular-season games at right guard, one at center and two at left guard in 2015.

The Chiefs also like what they have in the 6-4, 310-pound Pughlsey, who spent time on the practice squad in 2014 and part of the 2015 season before being elevated to the active roster in December.

Liedtke, who measures 6-3, 310 pounds, spent time on the practice squad in 2015 and signed a reserve/future contract in January.

The Chiefs could also consider moving Jah Reid or Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, both of whom logged time at right guard in 2015, to the left side.

Outside of the players currently on the roster, the Chiefs have time to address the guard position through free agency or through the draft to add competition ahead of organized teams activities (OTAs) and training camp.


Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.