Branden Albert (76) and Eric Winston (74) talk with injured quarterback Matt Cassel in 2012. (USAT Sports Imag …
Well, things are certainly interesting in Kansas City these days. Veteran right tackle Eric Winston, who signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Chiefs in March of 2012, has been released with just a year burned off that contract.
Per our own Brian McIntyre, Winston was scheduled to earn $4.9 million in base salary with a $100,000 workout bonus and $500,000 in "per game" roster bonuses in 2013. By releasing Winston, the Chiefs will save $5.5 million in cash and $3.5 million in cap space as the remaining $3 million in proration from his $4 million signing bonus in 2012 is accelerated onto the Chiefs' salary cap.
Winston, selected by the Houston Texans in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft, was a solid player for the Chiefs in 2012, but given his history as a zone blocker, and new head coach Andy Reid's preference for straight-ahead man-on-man power blockers, it may not have been the best fit. The question now becomes what the Chiefs will do with tackle Branden Albert, who they gave the franchise tag last Monday. After the Chiefs traded for ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, any chance that a signal-caller would be taken with the first overall pick owned by the Chiefs pretty much went out the window.
There's always the possibility that Kansas City could take one of the draft class' highly-regarded offensive tackles, such as Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M, or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. Such a move would likely involve Albert moving from left tackle to the right side, and according to a few of Albert's tweets just after Winston's trade was announced, that wasn't going over so well.
The tweets, since deleted from Albert's account, were in response to a few fans who asked him how he felt about a move to the right side (Response: "No way"), and whether he felt that he was a natural left tackle (Response: "You damn right"). He concluded with "Don't get mad I don't give you the answer you don't want to hear... That's your bad," when a few more people insinuated that Albert would not do what was best for the team.
So, if they select Joeckel or Fisher with that first overall pick, the Chiefs have a few options. They could trade Albert after he signs his tender, try to convince him to move to the right side, move either Joeckel of Fisher to the right side and give Albert a year to show what he can do, or try to move Albert inside to guard. Or, they could take a great defender like Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner or Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd, and put all this to rest.
One thing's for sure: Andy Reid's teams are never short on drama, and that fact has certainly moved with him from Philadelphia to Kansas City.
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