They’re all seated at the table now. John Dorsey, Jeff Ireland, Steve Keim and Branden Albert.
“Get outta town by sundown.” He got the message loud and clear. Then he stared across the table and growled, “I ain’t goin’ nowhere til somebody pays up!”
Yep, it’s an old story and he might as well have been sitting in a dusty, turn of the century, saloon in Dodge City.
The big question now is: what’s next for the Chiefs and Branden Albert?
No one wants Albert’s current franchise player contract, especially the Miami Dolphins who have already made Albert “an offer he could refuse.” But there are other players at this table. The Arizona Cardinals.
Some, who are standing on the outside looking in, have stated that Albert needs to lower his asking price, that he’s not worthy of what he believes should be his going rate. The presence of the Cardinals may change all of that.
That’s all fine and good but, until either the dam breaks, or Albert pulls his finger out of the dyke, the onus is on the Chiefs to do something else with their cap situation to make room for the players they’re about to draft into the fold.
So, what are those options?
The Chiefs could consider letting Tamba Hali go which could free up enough space to sign all the new drafted rookies coming in. Although, of Hali’s 15.5 mil cap number, 9 mil is dead money. In other words, if Hali is released, the Chiefs would still be out 9 mil towards the cap and that would leave them only 6.5 mil better than they are now. That would also dictate that the Chiefs draft someone like Dion Jordan number one overall to replace Hali.
If that were to happen then the Chiefs would once again be painted into a corner as far as who they would have to take #1 in the draft, and we know this regime prefers a position that is filled with prerogatives whenever possible.
However, the cap space must come from somewhere. So, where will that be?
It may likely come from the bottom of the roster. Here’s a list of 7 players who could get cut to help make space for newcomers coming in:
Even if the Chiefs moved every single player on this list it would only represent 61% of the amount a trade involving Branden Albert could get done. Now, we can see why it’s so important that the Chiefs trade Albert before the draft because the franchise tag is a $9,828.00 hit on the cap this year.
You may be wondering if the tag could be removed? The answer to that is no. ProFootballTalk says this about the Albert situation,
"“Since it’s too late to rescind the franchise tag, the Chiefs could decide to trade him without an extension. Though that arrangement would generate less compensation for the Chiefs, a condition could be added that would give Kansas City an extra pick or two if Albert signs a new deal with his new team…. Of course, if Albert isn’t traded he risks being moved to right tackle, or possibly being benched.”"
Although the Chiefs hands appear to be tied, as it relates to the trade with Miami, there also appears to be a bit of a stare-down going on between Albert and the Dolphins. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes,
"“…as this is officially the dawn of draft week, and all three parties — the Chiefs, the Dolphins and the Albert camp — would like a resolution to the issue that involves them all, the pressure on Ireland (Jeff Ireland, Miami GM) is about to mount exponentially… the Dolphins need to figure out how else they’ll solve their left tackle vacancy that apparently they’re not thrilled with Jonathan Martin filling. So, yes, there is pressure.”"
Albert appears to be in the position of strength here. He can play out his year with the Chiefs and then go to Free Agency next year or possibly get tagged again for even more money.
The Chiefs, while not in the best position cap wise, at least are not without the services of a good left tackle. Juggling the rest of their roster to make room for Branden will take some math homework, but it’s doable. Including the possibility of signing Albert to a long term deal… lowering this year’s cap hit… but taking a chance his back will last the life of the new contract.
The Dolphins are in a bit of a spot. Picking at #12 will almost certainly guarantee them they will miss out on one of the big three left tackles in this draft: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson. They also don’t want to be forced to make Jonathan Martin their left tackle.
Miami could package their 54th pick (360 points) with their 12th pick (1200 points) and possibly move up to the 7th or 8th pick in the draft but, there’s no guarantee that any of the big three LTs will be available after pick 5 (which belongs to Detroit). Besides, they’d likely have to give up more than their 54th pick for another team inside the top ten to be willing to move outside the top ten.
Seemingly… what the Dolphins will do… has everything to do with what the Chiefs will do.
However, the Chiefs may have other plans.
It’s reported that Arizona, who also is in need of a good left tackle, may have come to the realization that the big three LTs might even be gone by the time they draft at pick #7. Could they be players in the game for Albert’s services. If true, the Chiefs have more reason to wait and see who antes up the most. The Cardinals second round pick is #38, a much more palatable pick than teh Dolphin’s 42nd or 54th.
One last tip about what the Chiefs might do: if they don’t cut any players on the roster this week to make cap room before the draft, it would indicate they have a deal in place on draft day, or at least choices. One way or the other, the Chiefs have to have cap space cleared, to financially handle their new employees… by the end of this week.
It’s also been reported that the Chiefs are the hang-up in allowing the Albert to Miami trade to go through. If the Arizona Cardinals are also pursuing Albert, I can understand why the Chiefs would be hesitant to let Albert go when a much better pick, #38, could be theirs for the taking.
If this is the case, then the Chiefs would be best served by waiting until draft day and when the Arizona Cardinals are unable to draft left tackles Joeckel or Fisher or Johnson then they must exercise their next best option: trading for Branden Albert.
What the Chiefs plan actually is something that no one but John Dorsey and Andy Reid knows for sure. Anymore… I don’t know that they know either but I’m reasonably sure they know their choices.
How about it Addicts… what do you think the Chiefs will do next? Or… what would you like to see them do?