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Rookie lineman Lucas Niang becomes 3rd Chief to opt out

Brandon Zenner
St. Joseph News-Press
Lucas Niang

The Kansas City Chiefs will play the 2020 regular season without one of their draft picks.

Rookie offensive lineman Lucas Niang, the Chiefs' third-round selection, elected to opt out of the upcoming season, according to multiple reports. NFL Network was the first to report to the news.

Niang, who showed the versatility of playing guard or tackle at TCU, becomes the third Chiefs player to opt out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was the first player in the league to opt out, and running back Damien Williams announced his decision last week.

The Chiefs suggested Niang could move inside and compete at guard, a position the team has added significant depth at, including free agent Kelechi Osemele last week. Niang underwent surgery on a torn hip labrum in November, with the opt-out giving him more time to make a full recovery.

Ahead of the beginning of training camp, Niang was looking forward to returning to the field with his final college season being cut short.

"I'm fired up – firing on all cylinders," Niang said. "I'm ready to put the pads on and get some contact."

The Chiefs also added Mike Remmers to a group that brings back Andrew Wylie, Ryan Hunter and Nick Allegreti. The team also has options among undrafted rookie free agents Darryl Williams and Yasir Durant.

Martinas Rankin, who started five games at guard in 2019, is currently on the physically unable to perform list while he continues to recover from a season-ending knee injury suffered in Week 10 of last season.

Remmers and Osemele are the likely front-runners at the guard positions.

Niang was the NFL's 61st player to opt-out ahead of Thursday afternoon's deadline. The final number was 66 opting out.

Those who have a medical need will be paid $350,000. Those who are choosing to sit out without a medical need get a $150,000 advance on their 2021 salaries.

Niang's four-year rookie contract will be pushed back a year, and he's now under contract from 2021 through 2024.