Left tackle Branden Albert told the Chiefs on Monday he planned to sign their one-year contract offer worth about $9.83 million. Once he signs the deal, Albert will be bound to join the Chiefs for their mandatory mini-camp in June and then for the start of training camp in July.
Beyond that, his situation with the Chiefs remained unclear. The Chiefs and Albert could still negotiate a contract that would keep Albert in Kansas City for a longer term, though Albert recently told the Kansas City Star the sides were not close to an agreement on a multi-year contract before Albert was designated as the franchise player two weeks ago.
General manager John Dorsey expressed a preference for having the player at a prominent position like left tackle under contract for the long term.
“That would make a lot of sense regardless of who it is,” said Dorsey, who wouldn’t confirm that Albert had informed the team of his plans to sign the one-year contract. “You’d like to have some stability at that position.”
Even if the Chiefs and Albert don’t agree on terms of a long-term contract and he plays the season under his one-year deal, the Chiefs would still face some uncertainty about the future of a most important position.
For that reason, the possibility of selecting a left tackle like Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan with the first pick in the draft would seem to be still in play.
If the Chiefs draft either Joeckel or Fisher with their first pick, Albert could be asked to switch positions. The Chiefs have a vacancy at right tackle after releasing last year’s starter, Eric Winston.
Albert, who played guard in college at Virginia, recently said he wouldn’t change positions to accommodate another player.
“I’ll be playing left tackle,” he said.
By signing the one-year deal, Albert would also open the possibility the Chiefs could trade him. A player cannot be traded unless he has a contract for the upcoming season.
The Chiefs were obligated to make the one-year contract offer worth almost $10 million to Albert when they designated him as their franchise player. By using the franchise designation on Albert, the Chiefs were able to effectively keep him off the free-agent market.
Albert, a first-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2008, has developed into one of the league’s better left tackles.