It took the franchise tag for the Kansas City Chiefs to keep left tackle Branden Albert on the team, but they won’t use it on him again, nor are they willing to give him a long term contract, which means he’ll likely be a highly coveted free agent very soon.
Albert, a six-year veteran, wanted the Chiefs to give him a long term deal last season, but eventually signed the franchise tender. The Chiefs have different plans for the future: Eric Fisher, their draft pick from 2013, shifting him to left tackle once Albert is gone, while Donald Stephenson will take over the right tackle position.
It’s a simple matter of maths: Knowing that Alex Smith has an extension due soon, not to mention all the draft currency they spent on getting Fisher, giving a long term extension to Albert who is a solid player but by no means an All-Pro or an irreplaceable talent, just doesn’t make sense.
We shouldn’t worry too much about Albert, although he won’t be paid as well as he was last season. He’ll have plenty of offers to be a starting tackle somewhere unless his demands are exaggerated.
Albert made the 2013 Pro Bowl, the first of his career, but there are some concerns regarding his health. He has played the full 16-game slate only once in his six-season career with the Chiefs, missing four games last season and three in 2012. There were some who suggested he deserves an All-Pro mention but in general, Albert is a good, dependable left tackle, but not someone who is going to win almost every line trench battle, and definitely not someone worth crippling a franchise cap situation for.
The Miami Dolphins were the most interest team last season, and their offensive line situation hasn’t improved, which means it’s to be expected to see something happening in that direction.