The Kansas City Chiefs were the big winners today at the NFL’s franchise tag deadline, re-signing starters WR Dwayne Bowe and P Dustin Colquitt while also tagging LT Branden Albert.
Following the news that Albert was tagged, the Chiefs released a statement on the move.
“Today was the league’s deadline to designate a franchise player and we felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs to place the tag on Branden,” General Manager John Dorsey said. “We will continue to negotiate with Branden and his agent to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We are looking forward to working with Branden in the near future.”
The Chiefs and Albert have until July 15th to reach a long-term deal. If they do not, Albert will have to play under the tag or not play at all.
The Chiefs can also remove the franchise tag before July 15th if Albert doesn’t sign it first. It is a leverage game and right now, the Chiefs hold the upper hand.
Albert can try to hold on to some leverage by not signing the deal but he puts himself at risk by doing so because the Chiefs could turn around and decide to draft LT Luke Joeckel. If they do so, they could then take the franchise tag off the table, thus immediately making Albert a free agent. The problem for Albert, would be that he wouldn’t hit free agency until late April. By then, most of the teams willing to pay big bucks for a LT will have already made moves, thus Albert would find a much cooler market than he would have had the Chiefs not used the tag on him.
The Chiefs hold Albert’s rights for the 2013 season but there is still a small chance he could end up on another team.
In my opinion, Albert’s best bet is to sign the deal and work toward a long-term contract with the team.