With the return of the Branden Albert to Miami buzz, I have convinced myself that I have this situation figured out, or at least how I think it should happen. Since it sounds like contract negotiations with Miami are already well under way, the immediate thought is that the trade will be made prior to the draft. However, I don't think this deal should be made until we give the situation a chance to play itself out.
In the Chiefs current situation, why on earth wouldn't we want to see how the trade market for the #1 overall pick unfolds before essentially committing to drafting a top tackle #1, or at least limiting our options for how far we could trade down and still get a top tackle? The way I see it, there are two base scenarios that will determine the next series of twists and turns.
Scenario #1: Someone offers to trade up to #1. The Chiefs swap 1st round slots and gain at least a 2013 2nd rounder and maybe more (2014 1st rounder from Buffalo would be nice).
Now here is where the timing of the Albert situation comes into play:
If one of the top 3 tackles (possibly limited to only the top 2 tackles) is still available when our pick comes up, we take him with our 1st rounder and trade Albert to Miami. Thus, we have a top LT, at least a 2nd rounder from our trade down from #1, and another 2nd rounder from the Albert trade.
Even if Miami backs out of an Albert deal for whatever reason in this scenario (i.e. a top 3 tackle still fell to them at #12, Miami trades up for a top tackle, or they just decide against it), the Chiefs are still left with a great line situation at least for a year. You have Albert and a top rookie tackle as your bookends, a pretty high 2013 2nd rounder from your trade down from #1, and a full year to decide what to do with Albert (i.e. extension, re-franchise, trade, UFA).
On the other hand, if the top 2 or 3 tackles are gone when our 1st round pick comes up, then we grab whoever the hell we want with our 1st rounder (i.e. Jordan, Lotulelei, Warmack, Richardson, etc.). We would then be essentially forced to keep Albert, but would have a great player at a potential need position (as opposed to a filling a whole that we just created) with our 1st rounder, a pretty high 2nd rounder from the trade down from #1, and a full year to decide what to do with Albert.
Scenario #2: Nobody offers enough for a trade down from #1, so we're picking.
Option #1 in this scenario is you take your highest rated tackle (Joeckle in my opinion)and then have the option of dealing Albert to Miami for a 2nd rounder. I would guess that if this happens and Miami is willing, Albert is as good as gone. Thus, you have Joeckle at #1 and gain the 2nd rounder for Albert.
Option #2 in this scenario is you take your highest rated non-tackle (i.e. Jordan, Lotulelei, Floyd, or Geno), which once again leaves you essentially committed to Albert at LT for at least 2013. You then have no 2nd rounder in 2013. Ho hum.
With all of the scenarios/options that involve having a year to decide what to do with Albert, but no 1st round tackle this year, we had better be damn certain that we are willing to extend Albert pretty quickly. If not, then you likely lose Albert after 2013, get little (if anything) in return through a possible 2015 comp pick, have to put up with his attitude all year, and are pretty much committed to taking tackle with your 2014 1st rounder.
Of course for all of this to play out this way, Albert will need to pass a pre-draft physical with the Dolphins, and the Dolphins would have to have an extension worked out with Albert prior to the draft. And both teams would have to be flexible/patient enough to let their 1st round scenarios play out before pulling the trigger on the Albert deal.
Only one other non-Albert-related issue to throw out there. Keep in mind the value of the 1st pick of the 3rd round and the 2nd pick of the 4th round. If we can get a trade offer for one of these picks to include a 2014 2nd rounder or a 2014 3rd rounder respectively, we could potentially recoup the conditional pick from the Alex Smith deal by sliding down 10-20 slots in either round. This could particularly happen with the 2nd pick of the 4th because of the break between rounds 3 and 4. Hope I'm not getting too greedy.
If the Chiefs do anything less, I will be left feeling like we did not truly play our hand, when we seem to be holding all the chips.