On the first day of minicamp under new head coach Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs were ready to turn the page and play some football. Well, most of them anyway.
Left tackle Branden Albert was a no-show for the voluntary workouts on Tuesday, causing somewhat of a stir around One Arrowhead Drive. This was not unexpected, as Albert was nowhere to be found when the team opened up its offseason program a few weeks ago.
On Tuesday, Reid was asked about his feelings toward the almost perfect attendance, and Albert's name surfaced, per the Chiefs official website.
"Really, (Branden) Albert is the only one that’s not here," Reid said. "We just get down to business, and we don’t really concentrate on the guys that aren’t here. We concentrate on the guys that are. I’m excited about that and particularly the attitude."
When asked if Albert had communicated an issue or just decided not to show, Reid was short but to the point, per the Chiefs website:
"That’s his decision," Reid said
Currently, Albert is on the franchise tag and although he has signed his tender, he's made it clear he wants a long-term commitment.
Albert was one of the three key free agents on the Chiefs when general manager John Dorsey was hired in January. On the day of the deadline to declare who the franchise tag would be used on, Dorsey made his moves, signing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a five-year, $56 million deal and punter Dustin Colquitt to five years and $18.75 million, the largest in history for a punter.
All of this left Albert as the odd man out to be tagged. The former first-round pick out of Virginia was fine with signing the tender, but feels like he has been left out in the cold by the organization.
With the draft coming up on April 25, there have been ample rumors that Kansas City would like to deal Albert for a couple of picks, including a second rounder to replace the one it dealt to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers.
Should the Chiefs deal Albert before the draft, it will assure they will be drafting either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher to man the left side of the line for the forseeable future. If Albert is kept this season on the franchise tag, Kansas City is left with three options at the end of the year: franchise him again, sign him or let him walk.
Translation? It makes the most sense for the Chiefs to either sign Albert long-term right now to create cap space or trade him to recoup picks. Albert's cap number on the tag is $9.8 million. Should Kansas City sign him, that number would go down significantly.