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Branden Albert is a luxury the Kansas City Chiefs likely can't afford

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Starting LT Branden Albert is scheduled to be a free agent. Will the KC Chiefs bring him back? For financial reasons, it seems unlikely.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We have looked at the Kansas City Chiefs free agents in future years and the available salary cap money they'll have, coming to the conclusion that the Chiefs will have to be making some tough decisions in future years regarding long-time players.

One of those tough decisions will come this year with offensive tackle Branden Albert. A 2008 first round pick, Albert has been the Chiefs left tackle for six seasons, including last year when he was under the franchise tag.

Albert is scheduled to be a free agent on March 11. Considering the Chiefs tried to trade him (which the Chiefs acknowledged publicly at one point) and they have two capable offensive tackles at the moment in Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson, I don't expect him to return.

But to me there's little question that if the Chiefs did bring him back, he would make them a better team than without him. We saw numerous times last season when a starting tackle went down and Donald Stephenson came in to replace him. I made a point throughout the season to note how lucky the Chiefs were to have another offensive tackle, arguably the most important position on the offensive line.

Having a capable third tackle is a luxury for most teams, something the Chiefs took advantage of last year. But it's just that -- a luxury.

Finding another receiver (or retaining a current one) is more important than having a third tackle. Adding another starting offensive guard is a bigger priority than having an extra tackle. And there are other starting positions that will take priority over having a third tackle.

Those who have followed the site for years know that I am a big fan of offensive linemen and building a great offensive line would be one of my top priorities if I ran a team. For that reason, I would like to bring Albert back ... if the money were right. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the money probably won't be right for them. Albert will be among the top offensive tackles on the open market and someone will likely pay him well. I wish it would be in Kansas City but I know that there are other priorities when it comes to building a team.