The Chiefs did a lot of business in the hours before the franchise tag deadline, signing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt to long-term deals, and tagging left tackle Branden Albert.
Now they have something even more valuable than good players — they have options.
While many will immediately assume this takes them out of the market for a left tackle (specifically Luke Joeckel) with the first pick in a quarterback-less draft, that doesn’t seem wise.
First, they should create the full impression that it’s still a possibility, if only to create a trade market that might not otherwise exist.
But the realities of their line wouldn’t preclude drafting him anyway.
Even though they just tagged Albert (keeping him there for a year, at $9.828 million), there’s no reason they can’t draft Joeckel, and have one of them play right tackle. While Eric Winston has been solid, he’s also entering his 30-year-old season, and isn’t so good that you’d bypass a potential left tackle because of him.
And Albert’s back injury, which coach Andy Reid referred to as a “fairly significant injury” at the Combine, might also give them pause. At the very least, the uncertainty over Albert’s long-term health or contract status would make it wise to keep Joeckel as an option. Many also thought Albert was better suited to play guard when he entered the league, which creates another layer of possibility.
With the chance at a solid offensive line in front of an average quarterback (the recently acquired Alex Smith), along with a good run game, a solid receiving threat in Bowe and a coaching staff that knows how to move the ball, it gives the Chiefs the chance at a new look on offense.
And it gives them more options for the first pick, which makes it more valuable by definition.