General manager John Dorsey denied Friday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that the Kansas City Chiefs have determined they will not re-sign left tackle Branden Albert, as recently reported by a Kansas City radio station.
"That’s the first I’ve heard about it," Dorsey said. "We have ongoing conversations with all of our unrestricted free agents. It just so happens we’ve had conversations with Brandon’s representatives, and that’s the beauty of the combine. Those guys are here. We will continue to have conversations with those representatives as the combine passes."
Tackle Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NFL draft and a starter as a rookie opposite Albert, is widely expected to replace Albert as the Chiefs' left tackle in 2014. Said Dorsey of Fisher: “Right now, he’s our right tackle."
That said, don't look for Albert to return to the Chiefs next season. The Chiefs and Albert were nowhere close to an agreement on a long-term contract last year, and that prospect appears unlikely this year unless one side has a dramatic change of position.
The Chiefs retained Albert as their franchise player last year, and that option exists again this year. But Dorsey indicated it was unlikely the Chiefs would have a franchise player in 2014.
Fisher had an uneven rookie season. He looked lost to begin the year, but finished a bit better. A year in the Chiefs' weight program should help Fisher improve immensely. At any rate, as Dorsey continued to talk about Fisher, he sure didn't sound like he was speaking about a player who will continue to play right tackle.
“The one thing I’m proud about Eric is that he made great strides as the season went along," Dorsey said. "You could see a great degree of comfort with him in the second half of the season.
"I’ve always said that between the first and second year, that’s when those guys make their greatest strides. I expect great things from Eric in his second year."