November 18, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tackle Branden Albert (76) is injured in the second half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bengals won 28-6. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Answer: Trade Branden Albert

It’s been a week since last we spoke and to my surprise, there’s still no consensus in Chiefs Kingdom on what the team should do with the #1 pick. This was supposed to have been a joyous occasion for fans of this organization. The 2013 NFL Draft is the first time Kansas City has held the draft’s top pick in the history of the franchise. I’m sure most of you pictured a much different scenario. You were expecting a quarterback to stride across the stage to greet the NFL commissioner (if ever we were in this position). Unfortunately, it looks as though that ship has sailed.

Virtually every mock draft on the worldwide web has us taking Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel with our R1 selection. The muddled situation with franchised left tackle Branden Albert has made that inevitable. Albert is clearly unhappy with where he stands with the Chiefs. He opted not to attend the team’s voluntary workouts last week. Here’s what he had to say in a recent interview with NFL AM:

Until I know my situation with certainty, I’m going to stay away. [I want to know] if I’m going to be there long term. Right now, everything is uncertain. I want that long-term commitment, but as you know in football, you don’t have too much control of the situation. I want to play for the Chiefs, but I want that commitment long term.

The Chiefs hold Albert’s rights for the 2013 season and have committed $9.8 million of their cap in using the tag to retain him. It’s unclear whether or not he figures into their long-term plans, but it’s been rumored that there’s been no real contract negotiation between the sides. SI.com’s Peter King reported that the Chiefs would listen to trade offers for Albert, but we heard later that they were seeking multiple picks. In my estimation, Kansas City is unlikely to get multiple picks for Albert. It’s time for the front office to consider trading him for one R2 pick and calling it a day.

The 2013 NFL Draft is rich with talent between the middle part of the first and second rounds. Having only one pick in those rounds, that will eventually go to backfilling the left tackle position, puts the team at a disadvantage. The Chiefs seem to be resolved in moving on from Albert. With a flurry of quarterback movement over the past week (Flynn to Oakland, Kolb to Buffalo, Palmer to Arizona), there’s little chance that they’ll find a trade partner willing to move up that high. They may as well trade Albert before April 25th, clear the $9.8 million from their books, and give themselves an opportunity to come away with another starting-caliber player in the draft.

I’m not a part of the fan contingent who now sees Branden Albert as a malcontent. I completely understand his desire to know if he has a future with this football team. My suggestion that the Chiefs trade him is not emotional. I think it’s the best way for the Chiefs to manage an unfortunate series of events. Without a new contract, the relationship between the Chiefs and Albert could continue to deteriorate.

I’m curious as to why there’s been so little progress with this situation. Is the front office concerned that Albert’s back problems may resurface? That’s a legitimate concern, but then why give him $9.8 million for 2013? If John Dorsey has his sights set on replacing Albert, why carry such a high cap number for this season? Draft his replacement and be done with it. I won’t pretend to know the master plan. There may be a very good explanation for their silence on the matter. I just hope that sooner (rather than later) the team goes or gets off the pot.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re so inclined, share them in the comment section below.

Until next time, Addicts!

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