Two sources have told 610 AM’s The Drive the Chiefs have moved on from Branden Albert.
I’m told the #Chiefs have made the decision to let Branden Albert walk in free agency. Stephenson and Fisher will be the tackles in 2014.
— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) February 12, 2014
Albert played under the franchise tag in 2013 and was reported to be looking for a “Duane Brown-type” contract extension. Albert cannot officially become a free agent until March 11.
The Chiefs had no comment on the report.
It is not a surprise the Chiefs are moving on from Albert, but it does eliminates the possibility the Chiefs would tag Albert and then trade him. A franchise tag would have cost the Chiefs an estimated $11.8 million for the 2014 season, so the risk of keeping Albert under that number appears to be too much for the Chiefs. Kansas City will likely get a mid-round compensatory pick for Albert in the 2015 draft.
Albert made $9.828 million last season under the franchise tag.
The 2013 season was one of Albert’s best with the Chiefs. A former first round pick, Albert made his first Pro Bowl this season despite missing four games due to injury. Pro Football Focus graded him as a +10 left tackle, with +14.4 pass blocking grade and a -2.4 run block grade. It is anticipated Albert will be heavily pursued by the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals in free agency.
Kansas City has first overall pick Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson to replace Albert at left tackle. Fisher saw some improvement in the second half at right tackle, while Stephenson started at left tackle while Albert missed time. Early speculation would have Stephenson replacing Albert at left tackle. The Chiefs will have to fill the swing-tackle reserve spot Stephenson has filled for the last two seasons.