The deadline (3 p.m. CT) for placing the franchise tag on NFL players came and went on Monday with only six players getting tagged. As expected, the Kansas City Chiefs did not put the tag on left tackle Branden Albert like they did in 2013, and seemingly will let their veteran tackle test the free agent market.
Chiefs GM John Dorsey has said as late as last week that the team will continue to try and re-sign Albert, but his cost may be prohibitive, especially when the team used the #1 pick in the 2013 draft to take Eric Fisher, a collegiate left tackle who played on the right side last season.
Two other high-profile left tackles were not franchised on Monday, the Ravens’ Eugene Monroe and Jared Veldheer of the Raiders. Along with Albert, none of the three are Hall of Fame-type players, but because of their productivity and position, are all Top-10 potential free agents.
In fact, the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals reportedly already have Albert on their radar.
With NFL free agency set to begin on March 11, here is a list of the Chiefs free agents with the likelihood of their return. The NFL has set the 2014 salary cap at around $133 million for each team and the Chiefs are sitting pretty close to the cap right now.
- S - Hussain Abdullah: Played well for KC last season at times, but is not a starter in 2014. Probably should be re-signed by KC to provide depth.
- LT - Branden Albert: Wonder if Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (sacked 58 times in ’13) will pick Albert up at the airport himself?
- G - Jon Asamoah: Play tailed off in 2013 after solid 2012 season and lost his starting job. The club is probably more interested in keeping Geoff Schwartz, but Asamoah still has youth (26) and upside on his side. Pro Football Focus ranks Asamoah very high among NFL guards
- S - Quintin Demps: Played well (4 ints) early in the season when the Chiefs had a pass rush and has a role on the team if he can be signed cheap. And by cheap, I mean “league minimum”. A quality back-up that was forced to play way too much and got exposed by better QBs.
- DE - Tyson Jackson: The poster child for everything Chiefs fans hated about the Haley/Pioli era, Jackson played OK last year. Sadly, that was a huge step up for Jackson’s career. Probably a change of scenery would do him and the Chiefs a world of good, but he would be welcomed back at a cheap salary for sure.
- LB - Akeem Jordan: Meh …. Doubtful that this signing is keeping Dorsey or Andy Reid up at night. The team drafted Nico Johnson last year to play this spot and may be wanting to give Johnson every chance to take the starting job. Also doubtful that Jordan will have other teams beating down his door until it gets closer to training camp.
- S - Kendrick Lewis: Those burn marks on the back of his jersey are from where every WR the Chiefs played in 2013 torched Lewis deep. T.Y. Hilton of the Colts just scored another 65-yard TD against him 15 minutes ago. HIGHLY doubtful that Lewis will be in a Chiefs uni next year.
- WR - Dexter McCluster: The team signed Canadian Football League import Weston Dressler in the off-season (442 passes for 6,531 yards and 43 TDs in six seasons) as insurance for McCluster leaving. Reid has said that he wouldn’t mind having both guys on next year’s roster, but that is insane for a team with several needs and not much salary cap space. Someone will overpay Dexter for his punt return skills, but it won’t be KC.
- OT - Geoff Schwartz: Was the hot topic at the Combine last week and will get some offers from other teams. His agent says that Schwartz loved his time in KC but wants to be paid like a starter. If Dorsey cannot come to an agreement with Schwartz then Asamoah will have to get signed.
- WR - Kyle Williams: Practically tore his ACL the moment he signed his contract with KC last year and with Reid and Dorsey’s #1 off-season job being upgrading the WR corps, Williams’ job status is totally contingent on his recovery from injury.
- LB - Frank Zombo: The back-up for Tamba Hali and Justin Houston last season, Zombo has a definite role on this team if he signs. He definitely shouldn’t break the bank for sure, so I would expect him to be back unless he gets a starting job somewhere else.
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