October 14, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Daniel Te

Help Us Branden Albert, You're Our Only Hope


If defense wins championships and offense is the key to victory, what cheesy cliché is there to utter about the offensive line?

They protect our multiple round draft pick that many say we shouldn’t have traded for?

That doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

They spring Jamaal Charles like a jailbreak so he can run like the cops are chasing him?

Again, not aurally pleasing.

What can we say? The Kansas City Chiefs’ hogs up front aren’t pretty like a Jamaal Charles cut and sprint towards the end zone. They’re not full of finesse like Dwayne Bowe catching a pass on the sideline and tip toeing both feet in bounds to move the chains. They’re not either one of those things. I will tell you what they are. They’re mean, they’re nasty and they have the potential to be the best offensive line in the NFL this season.

If (yes, there’s an “if” involved) the starting five can manage to stay healthy, and (yes, an “if” and an “and”) Branden Albert shows up.

Speaking of Branden Albert, let’s talk about Kansas City’s wayward son.

Word on the street is, former Chiefs’ general manager, Scott Pioli, was trying to work a long term deal with Albert’s people last year prior to Pioli being fired. That extension never materialized and when the new regime couldn’t strike a deal with Albert prior to the free agent deadline earlier this year, they applied the franchise tag to Albert. In a nutshell, this means the Chiefs own the rights to Albert for the 2013 season and must pay him $9.8 million for the year.

The Chiefs have three options at this point.

Option #1: Trade Albert

The biggest sticking point with a potential trade is the gaining team will insist on agreeing to a new contract in principle before completing the trade. This will ensure their investment is protected and they’ll keep the traded player for longer than the one year the player is franchised.

The Chiefs tried to broker a trade with the Miami Dolphins for Albert in the week leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft. The Dolphins reportedly agreed to Albert’s contract demands but were unwilling to give into the Chiefs’ demands for a 2nd round draft pick in this year’s draft. This caused the transaction to fall through and Albert to remains on the roster.

Option #2: Allow Albert to Play Under the Franchise Tag

This is probably the most likely option for the Chiefs this season. If this course of action is followed, Albert will be under contract to attend all “mandatory” team activities, OTA’s, training camp and games. If he skips any of these activities, he would be fined which would affect his bottom line. Since this whole conversation is about money, Chiefs fans can rest assured that Albert won’t do anything that will take cash out of his wallet. Some fans and Albert critics are concerned that Albert won’t “try as hard” this season under this option because he’s unhappy and disgruntled. Let me dispel those rumors.

A: The man is a professional football player who has nearly ten million reasons this season to perform to utmost of his ability.

B: This is essentially a contract year for him. Not only will the Chiefs’ coaching team and front office personnel be keeping a very close eye on Albert but so will coaches and GMs from other potential landing spots for him next season should he become a free agent. This will cause Albert to almost “over perform” in an effort to impress all parties involved with his play.

In the end, trust me; he’s not going to “call in” his performance this season.

Option #3: Sign Albert to a Long Term Contract

This is perhaps the best case scenario with Branden Albert, however at this point the least likely, in my opinion. I say this for a couple of reasons. Despite what I just said about Albert being a professional, I think he’s probably still a bit salty about the failed Dolphin contract. This failed transaction may have soured him on his desire to remain the starting left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs beyond the 2013 season. I’m not saying he won’t sign a long term deal; I’m just saying he may need a bit more convincing than he would with another team.

One thing the Chiefs did gain out of the talks with the Dolphins was  they found out exactly how much money it would take to get Albert to say “yes” to a contract – at least if that contract was in South Beach. The Chiefs, along with the rest of us reading the reports in the news, learned that Albert is looking for money similar to what former Dolphin Jake Long got from the St. Louis Rams, which is around the neighborhood of $36 million for four years. Time will tell if that’s what the Chiefs are willing to pay the man who has protected Kansas City’s blind side for the past five seasons.

All that being said, why should the Chiefs fight to keep Albert long term? The Chiefs just drafted perhaps the best left tackle to come out of the NCAA since the formerly mentioned Jake Long. This has caused some discord with Albert, who has repeatedly stated he does not want to play right tackle. Andy Reid took the first step to set Albert’s mind at ease on that front.

“And so, you never know, I mean, in this business you’d love to say that he’d be here or not be here, one of the two, but I know he’s a good kid, I know he’s a hard worker and I know he’s a good left tackle. So that gives us a whole lot of flexibility, and if he was here today he would be the left tackle.”

-          Andy Reid

In typical Andy Reid-ese, he’s essentially said that Albert is penciled in at left tackle. That leaves Eric Fisher at right tackle and the best two guards and center in between. You see, Andy Reid believes you play the “best five guys” on the offensive line. Apparently he thinks Albert is the best bet to protect Alex Smith’s blindside. I’m inclined to agree. Here’s why.

Since arriving in Kansas City, Albert has only allowed his assigned defender to get to the quarterback 27 times in 73 games played. That’s one sack every three games. I like those odds. Keep in mind, he managed to provide this supreme protection with substandard quarterbacks who generally held onto the ball entirely too long. Through all of this, Albert held up his end of the deal and only got beat once every three games.

If you put an above average quarterback under center (save the Alex Smith argument for another time) who can move through his reads quickly, as well as a quick moving, West Coast Offense, this bodes well for Albert’s protection of the Chiefs’ most important asset. If you look at Alex Smith’s stats, he was sacked 68 times in the last two seasons. That’s more than 2.5 sacks per game. Not all of those sacks came from his blind side. However, it would stand to reason that if he can throw with the accuracy he displayed while being under pressure as he was in San Francisco, imagine what Smith can do with some time behind the best O-Line in the NFL. And, Albert won’t have to do it by himself. Along with Eric Fisher, Albert will most likely be playing alongside Geoff Schwartz, Rodney Hudson and Jon Asamoah who will hold down the center of the line.  

I know I made the argument through the talks with the Dolphins that the Chiefs should trade Albert. I believed since the Chiefs could have potentially gotten back into the second round of a draft full of high caliber second round talent, and they were predisposed to selecting Albert’s replacement with the first overall pick it was the smartest thing to do. I stand firm by that line of thinking. But that was then and this is now. The trade talks have died, the Chiefs have a high caliber player in Albert as well as a guy who can anchor their line for many years to come in Fisher. If Reid can make this whole thing work, the Chiefs have taken a huge step towards turning around that 2-14 season to one full of wins and happy Chiefs fans on Sunday afternoons this fall.

What do you think, Addicts? Should the Chiefs hold onto Albert or continue to find trading partners for him and take less than what he’s worth? Let me know!

Until next time, Addicts!

 

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  • dioxintribe

    Just hold on to him. This offense is gonna be sick, with all the weapons Reid has. It may take a year to jell. It’ll be like having Roaf, Shields, and Waters up front. Good article. Like the title!

    • Jason Seibel

      Thanks! That was my tribute to May the Fourth Be With You! Glad you enjoyed it!

      • dioxintribe

        I believe too this is why they picked Fisher over Joeckel (who I wanted), especially with the elitist attitude that Joeckel pulled right after the draft, “I’m gonna show KC for not picking me!” – I mean this guy would not be flexible. Fisher is gonna to be fine learning the game at different positions – he’s just appreciative to be there!

  • John

    That’s unfair to Eric Fischer who is a natural LT not RT. It’s not his natural position and you can expect a drop off in his performance there if he is moved. This whole situation is a cluster fuck.

    • Ron White

      Natural position? No such thing…he learned how to play the position after learning how to play RT, and Guard. What is unfair to Eric is your ASSumption that he will drop off his performance on the right side….LOL. He will be a beast there and an upgrade to what we have had there the last 10 years.

    • Lyle Graversen

      There is more and more proof out there that in today’s NFL where teams are constantly moving players around on both sides of the ball to create match up problems that the difference between LT and RT is minimal. Having both sides protected by great tackles is a huge plus not a cluster _____.

    • superman_25_58

      Fisher has come out and said that he will play anywhere on the line. How is this not fair to him? Fisher may be the #1 draft pick but he is still a rookie and why pull a dominant vet from the blind side who has proven that he can take care of business? Fisher is still getting paid what the #1 draft pick gets paid and Andy Reid said he values LT and RT the same. So to me it’s a win, win situation IMO.

  • Jarad

    The Chiefs have done a good job of resigning their talent over the last few years. But sometimes you can’t bring back all the talent you drafted. When that happens, use that great draft pick to get more draft picks. It would be nice to have 2 really good tackles, but I think KC will be risking losing Albert for nothing if he plays under the franchise. Another tag is an expensive risk. Especially with Asomoah needing a new deal. Players get hurt in training camp. That may be the perfect time for KC to get max value from a desperate team. GO CHIEFS!!! ARROWHEAD WILL BE ROCKING!!!

    • KCMikeG

      Agreed that we have done a good job keeping the best of our players in KC. If Albert plays under the tag this year and leaves we would still get a 3rd round compensatory pick next year. Ready for the Rocking!

      • Jim Harper

        At least that would take care of the other draft pick we have to give SF next year.

      • dominicscarlatti

        But is that really accurate, Michael? We received a 3rd round compensatory pick after losing Carr (50 million, 5 years). Would we still receive that high a pick if BA were to sign a deal elsewhere for, say, 8 million a year? Just wondering…

        • KCMikeG

          Hey Dom – Thanks for making me check. I was pretty sure but I learned something new while researching. I was not aware of the supplementary compensatory selection. Wonder when the

          COMPENSATORY PICK

          A total of 32 compensatory picks are awarded to teams that have lost more or better compensatory free agents than they signed in the previous year.[58] Teams that gain and lose the same number of players but lose higher-valued players than they gain also can be awarded a pick, but only in the seventh round, after the other compensatory picks. Compensatory picks cannot be traded, and the placement of the picks is determined by a proprietary formula based on the player’s salary, playing time, and postseason honors with his new team, with salary being the primary factor. So, for example, a team that lost a linebacker who signed for $2.5 million per year in free agency might get a sixth-round compensatory pick, while a team that lost a wide receiver who signed for $5 million per year might receive a fourth-round pick.

          All compensatory picks are awarded at the ends of Rounds 3 through 7.

          If fewer than 32 such picks are awarded, the remaining picks are awarded in the order in which teams would pick in a hypothetical eighth round of the draft (These are known as “supplemental compensatory selections”).

          Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.
          Under the formula, the compensatory free agents lost by these clubs were ranked higher than the ones they signed (by a specified point differential based upon salary and performance).

      • christian rajkovic

        Your not getting a 3rd round compensatory pick. You moron, and if you did some how get a 5th round compensatory pick it wouldn’t be until 2015

  • Chris Tarrants

    If we have Albert and Fisher both then you can take it to the bank that Charles is going to run wild! Find a way to keep both and let’s see if Baldwin is what he was drafted to be! I think he will also break out

    • Doug McD

      Correct! I think the real question is if we don’t have him, will we have to use a 1st round pick next year to keep AS upright. Sorry I don’t like the idea of waiting another year to give (whoever) our QB is enough time to get multiple playoff wins! Find a way to keep him and score, score, score and score! Beat PManning at his own game!

      Albert, think about all those wins you can have with us and coach Reid! Don’t be a multi team player, you have the ability to claim your destiny right now here in KC!

      Dorsey, give the man fair market value, we want him here in KC!

      Reid, you are all about 2nd chances. Albert needs to know you believe in him. Call him every day even if he doesn’t want it. He will eventually get it!

      • http://www.facebook.com/PullinInGreen Tyleet Heggs

        I would much rather lose often injured Lewis and moeaki, before I lose Albert,and I like them both. The man gave up one sack for Christ sakes!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-J-Bailey/1055197089 Matthew J Bailey

        Multiple playoff wins?!?!?

        We’re talking about Kansas City here. Multiple WINS would be a start….

  • Tyler Alexander

    Contrary to popular opinion I say trade him. The Chiefs are 0 for 2 trying to resign him and you’re not gonna franchise him twice. If he leaves as a free agent after this year the best case scenario is you get a late third for a compensatory pick in the 2015 draft and that’s only if we don’t sign a comparable free agent to replace. If u trade him now u can sign Clabo to play RT and maybe get a 2nd or 3rd for the 2014 draft. Fisher and Clabo plus cap savings and 2014 higher pick is better than Albert for one year and Fisher plus a 2015 late third pick

    • Lyle Graversen

      I’ll worry about 2014 later, we can’t get anything to help us win NOW for him at this point so I say keep him and let’s give Denver a run for their money.

      • Tyler Alexander

        U overestimate Alberts skill level if u think he’s the key to us winning. They need the cap savings to avoid cutting players that will also help us win like Moeaki and Lewis.

        • Justin R Groth

          You underestimate the importance of Albert to the line. A couple of them have said Albert was the leader of the group. Alao the more people on the line you replace at a time the harder it is for them to get on the same page. Why not allow us to be extremely talented on the line, and try to resign him.

        • Lyle Graversen

          Albert is a much better player and would be missed more than Moeaki and or Lewis.

        • superman_25_58

          Are you a scout left over from the Pioli Regime? Obviously you underestimated Alberts skill level bc the stats above and all my years following the Chiefs he has done a pretty outstanding job since he has been in the league. Scroll back up and look at his stats again, “Since arriving in Kansas City, Albert has only allowed his assigned defender to get to the quarterback 27 times in 73 games played. That’s one sack every three games”. You couldn’t do what Albert does in your dreams buddy.

          • Tyler Alexander

            Every GM in football looks to trade a player before he gets to FA to get value beyond his contract. Its the same reason the Jets traded Revis or u end up with the egg on ur face like the Broncos when they lost Dumerville with nothing to show for it. Its smart business. I think Alberts a good player but he’s replaceable.

          • Tyler Alexander

            Btw, I do know dumerville wasn’t a FA but they lost him just the same. Which also points out the u can’t overpay these guys or u end up in those situations…

          • dominicscarlatti

            Tyler Alexander is not lobbying to personally replace BA, so your last sentence is both silly and snarky. Buddy.

        • Chief Hokie

          Would you not agree that prior to drafting Fisher, Albert was our best O lineman?

  • Lyle Graversen

    Great post! I agree and don’t understand all the anti-Albert attitude I’m seeing. The guy is a top 10-15 LT in the NFL. Alex Smith wants to keep his status as a starting QB and he’s a competitor, but Albert wants to keep his spot at LT and he’s selfish? The guy gets tagged which sets his salary at 9.8 million dollars and everyone’s mad he’s not in a hurry to sign a deal that pays him less than that? If you were set to make 10 million dollars would you be excited to sign a contract that paid you less especially if you thought they might move you to a position you didn’t want?

    • captkenbad

      he wants pay like the best LT. Think in long run fisher will beat him out . but he should get us high draft to get another RT later!!! I just say Albert get out there and prove you are the best!!!!

  • Shawn Duce

    At this point this is the smartest way. If BA isn’t in there immediate plans they have little to no leverage to receive any fair compensation from another team if they wanted to trade him.Plus this puts KC in a “show me” situation with BA for his next contract with no real risks w/Fisher and Stephenson on the roster moving forward

  • NathanaelL

    BA is getting way too much money but I would not make a new contract. Play him this year but if he does not raise his game to the next lvl get the best available OT in next years draft to replace him.

    • Chris Tarrants

      next level? He allowed one sack last year! No other LT in the league can say that

  • http://twitter.com/javierq7 Francisco Quezada

    Perfect lets have the best line in the league!

  • chiefdeorty

    This is my take on the subject, keep Albert and plat him as LT. He has earned that respect because he has improved every year he has been in the league. We will have a good O-line there will be people who say different but the fact keep everybody happy Fisher will be happy to be on the team.

    The Chiefs have a lot of talent and can be play-off bound for a long time. Get the long term deal and kiss and make up and lets get this this going in the right direction now. The faster we get this thing done the better. I just hope Albert will be willing to get it done.

    • redchiefs

      The Chiefs gave him respect, a one year deal at 9.8mil this year, and he signed that deal. If he wanted a long term deal, he’ll have to make a deal with the Chiefs. Every negotiation is about how much the player thinks he’s worth, and how much the team offers. From there, you negotiate, both sides give and a deal is hammered out. If Albert wants a long term deal in another city, he needs to show he’s worth it, sitting at home (maybe he’s working out, maybe) isn’t showing anyone in the entire NFL he’s willing to do everything a coach may ask of him. Reid’s done nothing but praise Albert for his play at LT, and now he’s said Albert will play LT. That’s commitment too. The contract he signed, and the praise from a new coach who’s never worked with him before.

  • Shawn Duce

    Listen,I’m exicited about the culture change and the direction of our beloved chiefs too,but all this talk of having the best line in the league is hogwash,even if BA is a “top 10″ LT you still have an young,unproven center coming off an injury,a rookie RT(no matter how good he seems to be),and some ? marks at guard with a couple young guys and a vet trying to re-establish himself. Pump the brakes gentleman…atleast till training camp

  • KCMikeG

    Nice article Jason. You mentioned BA’s performance in spite of the poor QB play but should add the weak WR play as it figures into the holding of the ball, sacks, QB pressures and turnovers. I think people will see BA rise from the #10-#15 rank LT to a top 10 with a good QB and better WR/TE play this year.

  • redchiefs

    It’ should be Andy Reid saying that, wearing a white toga and a new hairdo? I mean, c’mon man, someone should been on the phone telling Albert it’s not coach Reid whispering trade rumors, that is the John Dorsey side of the operations. Someone has the help Albert understand if he wants a long term deal, he has to show up, and do a good job this offseason, maybe throughout the whole year. He signed the deal, if he wanted a long term deal that bad, why sign the one year tender?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-J-Bailey/1055197089 Matthew J Bailey

    The problem for KC is that they will clearly be better if they keep both Albert and Fisher…but…that is to say they might be 6-10 instead of 4-12.

    They were stupid not to take the 3rd from Miami while they had a chance. That player–whomever it was–would have come in as one of the 5-7 best players on that otherwise miserable roster.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Well clearly you aren’t drinking the Kool Aid huh? I get taking a “believe it when I see it” attitude after the horrible play we’ve seen from KC the last few years. However, I think you’d have to admit that coaching and QB play were two of the biggest problems and those have been upgraded. Their was already some talented players on the roster and Dorsey and Reid are starting to add to it. They may not be Super Bowl contenders yet but I wouldn’t call the roster miserable.

  • krayfish

    I do believe this will be the best O line in the NFL