It’s time for the Kansas City Chiefs and Branden Albert to part ways once and for all. In the 2013 offseason, the front office and Albert were far enough apart on what he was worth to shop him pretty hard in the trade market. The Miami Dolphins almost went for a draft-day swap, but it fell through and the Chiefs ended up paying Albert for the franchise tag they handed him a month earlier.
Now a free agent with a Pro Bowl selection on his resume, hopes for Kansas City and Albert to be any closer on what they believe he’s worth should be nonexistent. Albert is a good tackle, but he wants elite tackle money. The Chiefs can’t afford to overspend this offseason, but luckily they won’t need to at his position.
With both Eric Fisher and Albert missing significant time this season, Donald Stephenson proved he is more than ready for a promotion. The second-year man out of Oklahoma filled in masterfully on both sides of the offensive line, and it would be silly for the Chiefs to waste his talents on the bench.
What Kansas City would gain from a competitive standpoint is nowhere near worth the cost of re-signing Albert, even if they gave him the franchise tag again. Again, he is good tackle, but he’s also a little overrated. In just 12 games this season, he managed to lead the Chiefs in penalties with 10, and seven of those were of the pre-snap variety.
That is inexcusable for a player who was supposed to be the veteran presence on a young offensive line. He has also started all 16 games in a season just once in his six-year career, and missed nine starts over the last two seasons.
The Chiefs may need to rebuild their depth on the line, but they would be in great hands with Fisher and Stephenson holding down the tackle positions as starters. There is no logical reason to re-sign Albert, nor have any talks with him outside of a goodbye. It’s a no-brainer – Kansas City can’t afford him, but they are definitely equipped to deal with losing him.