Just a few hours after football writer Peter King wrote that the Kansas City Chiefs would be open to trading offensive left tackle, Branden Albert, if the right deal came along, Albert signed his franchise tender contract on Monday.
Earlier this month, the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Albert and now that he signed his contract, he won’t be a training camp holdout and will play this season for a guaranteed base salary of $9.828 million. It also allows Albert’s agent and the Chiefs time to work out a long-term contract that could keep him in Kansas City for more than just the 2013 season.
The two sides have until July 15 to reach a new deal. If they are unable to do that, Albert will be unable to negotiate with the Chiefs until after the season ends.
The Chiefs can still trade Albert to another team if they get a good offer. The free agent market for left tackles has been soft so far this season (which may be the biggest reason Albert decided to not look nearly $10 million in the mouth), but Albert has a track record of solid play and might still draw interest from teams needing an upgrade at the offensive tackle position.
Albert’s signing could also potentially change what the team may do with their first draft pick in April’s NFL draft. Holding the #1 overall pick, most draft experts think that the Chiefs would take either Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan, both outstanding left tackles. Even if Albert plays left tackle in 2013, either one of these players can play right tackle this season and then move to left if Albert leaves in 2014.
However, Albert’s presence means that the Chiefs could draft another defensive lineman that might be able to actually generate a pass rush out of the 3-4 alignment (he said sarcastically). Players like Florida’s Sharif Floyd, Dion Jordan from Oregon, or Ezekiel Ansah out of BYU come to mind as well as Utah’s Star Lotulelei if his heart condition checks out with the team doctors.
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