The Kansas City Chiefs have been a focal point in numerous NFL rumors, and have attracted plenty of attention from members of the media and Twitter world ever since Andy Reid was hired as their Head Coach. Most talks have been revolving around their indicated interest level in attaining San Fransisco 49ers’ QB Alex Smith, which has been reported to be the most pursued player in recent trade talks. However, another story that’s been made pretty well known through various sources, is the current interest the Chiefs have in drafting Texas A&M’s LT Luke Joeckel with their first pick.
Signs have been pointing toward coach Andy Reid targeting an offensive tackle rather than a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick. Rapoport reports Kansas City is high on Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, which could mean impending free agent Branden Albert will be allowed to hit the open market.
So let that sink in for a minute, the Chiefs have a desire to land both QB Alex Smith, and draft a premier LT in the draft with their first pick. There’s something missing here, don’t the Chiefs already have a pretty good LT in Branden Albert?
Which is exactly the point. Currently, not much has been mentioned of Branden Albert remaining in Kansas City, which means that he could be hitting the open market that’s already pretty stacked with talent, including the likes of former Saints Pro Bowl LT Jermon Bushrod, who will also be hitting free agency along with other well known players such as another potential Pro Bowl LT in Jake Long. As it stands right now, if the Chiefs do infact decide to part ways with Branden Albert, then there could be as many as 3 different Pro Bowl LTs available on the open market for teams needing a dominant force to protect the blindside of the QB. Branden Albert will certainly draw considerable interest from other teams around the league, as he’s not too old being 28 years of age, and he’s shown the capability to shut down some of the best pass rushers the league has to offer, in addition to being a force paving lanes for Jamaal Charles. Now, why would the Chiefs dare themselves to take such a risk, and go with a rookie instead of a proven veteran?
The answer, could be that Branden Albert has not been 100% healthy as he missed 3 games last year alone with back issues. Also, Andy Reid may see something in a new LT such as Luke Joeckel that would be a better fit in his system than Branden Albert. Or, it could be as simple as them seeing Branden Albert being too expensive to keep with the Franchise Tag, much like what’s going on in New Orleans with Jermon Bushrod, and Jake Long with Miami for the matter. So far, only 1 team has placed a tag on their dominant LT, and that would be the Denver Broncos with Ryan Clady. Otherwise, it’s fair game for the other 3 Pro Bowlers, who will all receive considerable interest from teams once the market is open for business on March 12. One notable team that could be interested in Branden Albert includes the Chicago Bears, where they’re actively looking for an improvement at the LT position, and current Bears GM Phil Emery has known Branden Albert in person. Surely, there will be a long list of teams calling his agent once he hits the open market, that is, provided he doesn’t re-sign with the Chiefs. Wherever he decides to go will ultimately be up to him, but rest assure, with injury concerns set aside, any team that lands him will be receiving a real force to secure the edge in pass protection.