Don’t expect Branden Albert to rejoin the Chiefs any time soon. Albert, the starting left tackle, was absent Monday for the first day of the offseason conditioning program and said on NFL Network this morning he wouldn’t report until the Chiefs commit to him beyond the one-year, $9.83 million contract Albert recently signed as their franchise player.
“I want to play for the Chiefs, but I want that commitment long term,” Albert said.
The Chiefs are reportedly exploring trading Albert, their starting left tackle for the past five seasons. They also may pick either of two tackle prospects, Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan, with the first selection of the upcoming draft.
Participation in the off-season program is voluntary. The only commitment for players under contract until training camp begins in July is the mandatory three-day mini-camp, which for the Chiefs this year is June 4-6.
So this thing doesn’t become serious for the Chiefs unless Albert skips that camp. Then they’ll know he’s not bluffing.
With the draft just three weeks off, the Chiefs need to protect themselves in the event they don’t trade Albert and he shows them in June he isn’t bluffing. Now it makes more sense than ever for them to draft Joeckel or Fisher.