Red Zone

Breaking down Chiefs’ free-agent situation

The NFL’s free-agent signing period begins on Tuesday, and there have been some changes to the system this year. A contact and negotiation period between teams and the agents for potential unrestricted free agents begins tonight at 11 p.m.

Teams and agents can negotiate contracts and even agree on terms. But contracts cannot be signed, and free agents can take visits until Tuesday at 3 p.m., much like the Chiefs and 49ers can’t formally complete their trade involving quarterback Alex Smith until then.

The Chiefs this week kept three of their most-coveted players off the list of potential free agents. They re-signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt to long-term contracts and named tackle Branden Albert as their franchise player.

Assuming he doesn’t sign a long-term contract with the Chiefs before then, Albert, starting Tuesday, would be free to sign a contract with another team. But that team would have to send two first-round draft picks to the Chiefs in return.

Here are the remaining potential Chiefs free agents. The Chiefs would hold the rights to the restricted and exclusive-rights free agents listed here only if they make a minimum qualifying offer to them by Tuesday. If not, they would become free for any team to sign.