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The NFL Rumor Mill has been dangerously churning in recent days, and the Chiefs are the topic of discussion, for once. (It feels nice, doesn't it?) Multiple reports are pointing towards the Chiefs aggressively shopping Branden Albert, and there seems to be multiple teams involved in the Albert trade talks. Jason LaConfora of NFL Network reported that the Miami Dolphins "are among the teams interested", indicating that multiple teams are in talks with Kansas City. Also, reports from John Clayton and Chris Mortenson of ESPN, the Miami Dolphins have been given permission to discuss a long-term deal with Branden Albert's agent. So, long story short, talks are heating up and a deal may be done soon.
But, scrolling through the comments on Arrowhead Pride and on Twitter, I noticed that most Chiefs fans are aanst trading Branden Albert, which I understand completely. Why trade a solid Left Tackle who has shown many flashes of being a pro-bowl caliber player, and someone who has started on the Chiefs offensive line since the first day of his career? At first glance, it makes no sense. But Chiefs GM John Dorsey wouldn't be anywhere near out of his mind to trade Branden Albert.
Before I get into this too much, let's say that the Chiefs would acquire a 2nd round pick and then another mid-round draft pick, maybe a fifth rounder? That's the scenario we'll be looking at, give or take a round or two on the mid-round pick:
The Ability To Do what John Dorsey Loves To Do:
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Since John Dorsey and Andy Reid were hired, it's become well known that they love and prefer to build through the draft and get younger. By trading a 28 year old and replacing him with a cheaper, most likely just as good 21 year old, the line is getting 7 years younger. By acquiring a 2nd round pick, either the #54 or #42 overall pick, John Dorsey would be given the opportunity to fill all of their two major needs (both Tackle spots) and then add quality and valuable young depth, to an already talented and fairly deep team. Yes, the regime wants to win now, but by building a consensus of young, potential filled players drafted in the first half of the draft, you're only giving yourself a better chance to win for the long-term.
The Chiefs would have seven picks in the first five rounds, and all but one would be in the top half of that round. When you look at teams like 49ers, Packers, Patriots, Steelers, and the Giants, who are all teams who have been or are set to be very good for many years to come, they've all added very valuable depth through the draft. Those players eventually have become above average starters because they were drafted to a winning team and have been developed accordingly. Five years from now, players like Brandon Flowers, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson will all be leaving their prime and become players who are over-the-hill. You have to start drafting and developing their replacements sometime. So why not start right now by trading away a $10 million dollar player who isn't versatile on the line and refuses to play with his current contract, and get picks in return which could be used to fill two needs and then give the Chiefs an incredibly deep team? It makes too much sense.
The Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers, let him develop for three years, and then he became an MVP player.
The Gaints drafted Pierre-Paul, let him develop and earn is playing time, and now he is a top Defensive Player.
This list goes on forever. Drafting and developing players to eventually replace quality starters works more than it doesn't.
Building a Stronger Defense:
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How does trading an offensive lineman directly correlate to building a stronger defense?
Many of the fans who were against trading for Alex Smith have used the argument that the 49ers defense took his team there, and he only played a small role in achieving what that team achieved. Although I strongly disagree with that argument, their defense was the best in the NFL and without it, they wouldn't have gotten there. Plain and simple. But my question is, why can't the Chiefs defense be similar to the 49ers? It can. As of now, they already have an incredibly talented nucleus of defensive players, consisting of Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, and Sean Smith (who by the way are all entering and leaving their prime relatively around the same time). With another few pieces and some more depth added to the front seven, this defense can be unstoppable. They have a Top-5 Linebacking group to begin with, and arguably a top-10 secondary. Obviously all of this is on paper as of now, but it would definitely surprise me if this defense came out and flopped.
With the two 3rd round picks, two fifth rounders, two sixth rounders, and one sevent and one fourth, that depth can almost all be added in one draft. They could add a developmental ILB, a backup OLB, a Free Safety, and Defensive End, and still have four more draft picks to spend on the other side of the ball, or, to move up in the draft and pick a player who has slipped, which simply happens every year.
This is just another positive that the Chiefs would get out of trading Branden Albert.
The Offensive Line, Years From Now:
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Now, this is where the Chiefs will improve the most.
Remember that memorable offensive line from the early 2000's, consisting of players to the likes of Willie Roaf, Will Shields, and Brian Waters? Remember how they all seemed to develop and enter/leave their prime together, which made for multiple years of dominance in terms of the offensive line? Yeah, now hold that thought for a moment...
After the Chiefs draft either Luke Joekel or Eric Fisher at no.1, their offensive line would look something like this:
LT- Luke Joekel/Eric Fisher
LG- Geoff Shwartz/Jeff Allen
C- Rodney Hudson
RG- Jon Asamoah
RT- Donald Stephenson/Geoff Shwartz/Jeff Allen.
When looking for a starting Right Tackle, it gets a bit complicated. Donald Stephenson was a 3rd round pick ni the 2012 draft, and started a few games last season. He wasn't great, but was far from a liability. You didn't really notice that he was a rookie, but just that he was not spectacular. Geoff Shwartz could be a solid LG and that may be where he ends up playing, but he also has the potential to be an average Right Tackle. Then, Jeff Allen who started at Left Guard from week 3-on in 2012 and who was a 2nd round pick in 2012. He played Tackle in college at Illinois and was placed at Right Tackle in mini-camp a week ago, indicating that he is an option at Tackle. He played well in my opinion for a rookie who was put into a tough spot. They are all options and all have the potential to be average starters in 2013.
But, with that newly acquired second round pick, the Chiefs could select a Right Tackle who is able to compete for the job year one, say maybe Terron Armstead, place Shwartz or Allen at Left Guard, and let Donald Stephenson compete at Right Tackle. All of a sudden, the Chiefs have quality depth on the offensive line with Stephenson, Shwartz/Allen, Tommy Draheim, and Brian Mattison as backup offensive lineman. Plus, they still would have 8 more draft picks in this draft.
But, if you haven't figured out why I brought back the memory of the Chiefs old offensive line, you will now. Three years from now, the offensive line will look like this from Left to Right: Luke Joekel, Jeff Allen, Rodney Hdson, Jon samoah, Donald Stephenson/draft pick from '13. At that time the whole entire offensive line will be under the age of 27 years old, and all will be entering and leaving their prime at the same time. That sounds a lot like that old offensive line, now doesn't it? Of course it's too early to guarantee that their offensive line will be as good or anywhere near a good as that memorable line was, but I think it's safe to say that if they're coached correctly, there's a better chance that it happens than it doesn't.
John Dorsey loves building through the draft. He loves getting younger. He loves taking the best player available. Every GM loves to save money while staying afloat. By trading Branden Albert, John Dorsey is doing all of those things while crating a healthy playing environment and also giving himself extra cap space to extend the contracts of players who may need to be brought back for years to come (Jon Asamoah, Tyson Jackson, Jamaal Charles in a few years, etc.)
Although some thoughts were spit out all into one post, that is why I believe trading Branden Albert is the best for the Chiefs. If not, you have to look at it from John Dorsey's perspective and try to get into his mind to see how he looks at things. His philosophy is building through the draft. This drastically helps him do that. He's getting his team younger. He's adding valuable young depth to positions that may need to be replaced in say, four or five years. Lastly, he's getting rid of a $10 million dollar player who doesn't want to be on the team with his current contract, and getting a lot of positive things in return. It makes too much sense to do this, in my opinion. But what do you guys think? I know there's a lot of different opinions out there, so let's hear them and talk about them.
From Aaron Mannicci, a loyal member of ChiefsNation, GO CHIEFS!