Former 1st-round draft pick Branden Albert, the Chiefs’ starting left tackle, is set to become a free agent this year, and what Kansas City decides to do with the 28-year old could have a huge impact on the entire offseason.
When asked about possibly moving inside to guard, Albert was indignant about staying at tackle, saying, “I’m not a guard. I haven’t played guard since college. It kind of upsets me a lot.”
Albert is a solid left tackle, but he is likely looking for a big-money contract in free agency. The Chiefs couldconceivablyslap him with the franchise tag, but that would mean paying approximately $15.36 million to a player who is not quite elite.
The Chiefs have two distinct options here: keep Albert and draft quarterback Geno Smith first overall, or let Albert walk, draft Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, and find a quarterback in free agency or through the trade market.
Kansas City should let Albert go, as he is not worth the money he is likely to get in free agency. Albert is an above-average left tackle, but he has yet to make a Pro Bowl in his career, pointing to the fact that he is not truly a top-level talent at the position.
Joeckel, however, is an elite tackle prospect, and worthy of going first overall to Kansas City. The Chiefs would be better served going with Joeckel in the first round, then a developmental quarterback later, such as USC’s Matt Barkley or Miami of Ohio product Zac Dysert, than keeping Albert and drafting Smith first overall.
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