The deadline for all franchise tendered players to reach a long-term agreement with their respective teams was this past Monday afternoon. Only one player was able to reach a deal with their team and that was OT Ryan Clady of the Denver Broncos. On the list of players who were unable to come to terms on a multi-year contract was Chiefs LT Branden Albert. And with their inability to come to an agreement, this could mean a number of things for the Chiefs. First and foremost, it no doubt means that Albert will play under the franchise tag in 2013 as the team’s left tackle. But what this can ultimately lead to are questions that will have to be left unanswered for now.
What the one-year tender does for the Chiefs on an immediate basis is it allows the new regime to evaluate Albert after a full season and determine if they want to give him the money he is seeking. Branden has had a history of back problems that caused him to miss some games in the past. There is no doubt he is a key component and the anchor of the Chiefs offensive line but with the deal he is looking for considering his back issues, it is understandable why the Chiefs are hesitant to give him the big bucks. The team also drafted a LT number one overall and although they moved him to right tackle, Eric Fisher can very easily move back to the left side.
This is where things can get interesting come the end of the 2013 season. The Chiefs and Albert’s representatives can resume talks on a long-term deal if they choose, or Albert can test the free agent market and sign elsewhere. And if this were to occur, Eric Fisher would then become the team’s new and long-term answer at left tackle.
But the problem is, do the Chiefs want to move Fisher back to the left side after playing his entire first season in the league on the right? Playing him at RT can very well hinder his development as a LT, but if the Chiefs feel like he can play both positions effectively then they will move forward with that plan. After all, the reasons why Mr. Dorsey and coach Reid made the “Big Fish” the top pick in this last draft was because of his athleticism, instinct, and most of all his ability to play both right and left tackle at a high level.
So there will be a few questions that will need to be answered with Branden Albert and the left tackle position once the Chiefs 2013 season comes to a close. Will they sign him long-term next year? Will Albert play for somebody else? Will Eric Fisher become the team’s new left tackle? If so, that leaves a hole at RT.
But one thing is for certain. Branden Albert will be the LT for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. His goal will be to do his job effectively which is to block the blindside of new QB Alex Smith and open holes on the left side for the running backs.
For now, the Chiefs will focus on improving each and every day to win football games. Everything else will be pushed to the side until the time comes.
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