Chiefs could see advantages of new reserve/PUP rules with Lucas Niang

Last month the NFL and NFLPA ratified new roster rules for the 2022 NFL season. One rule change flew a bit under the radar as it relates to the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive line composition this upcoming season.

Previously, when players were placed on the reserve/PUP list at the onset of the season, they would not be allowed to return to practice for a 21-day window with the team until six regular-season games had elapsed. This season, the NFL will allow players on the reserve/PUP list to return after just four regular-season games have elapsed.

We don’t yet know the status of RT Lucas Niang for the 2022 NFL season. Niang suffered a torn patellar tendon in Week 17 of last season, which is a notoriously difficult injury for a big man to come back from. He remains a non-participant in OTA practices and isn’t expected to participate in Mandatory Minicamp next week due to the injury.

The latest update on Niang from Chiefs GM Brett Veach was an optimistic one, citing that he was on schedule in his recovery back in April. He also said it wasn’t outside of the realm of possibility that he could be ready to return late in training camp.

Should the Chiefs opt to play things safe with Niang and his injury, they could place him on the reserve/PUP list and ease him back into action under these new rules. He’d still be allowed to attend team meetings and use team facilities for rehab and recovery work, but the team wouldn’t be able to activate his 21-day practice window until the onset of Week 5. That means the team could realistically see Niang back in the fold well before the bye week.

This could add another level of depth and complexity to the right tackle position in Kansas City. Andrew Wylie has been playing with the starting unit at that spot during OTAs with Niang sidelined. Geron Christian is playing left tackle while Orlando Brown Jr. is away from the team.

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