There has certainly been a mammoth amount of speculation regarding who Andy Reid and new GM John Dorsey will ultimately choose when the draft commences. And while the recent trade for Alex Smith thoroughly eliminated the QB position from that conversation, their latest move just might have signaled their intentions very clearly.
The unexpected release of former starting RT Eric Winston creates a void at a slot that appeared to be adeptly manned. Not only had he solidified the position by starting all 16 regular season contests in 2012, but the Chiefs had signed the talented veteran to a four-year contract worth $22 million a mere 12 months ago. While the decision will enable KC to save $5.5 million in cash, and $3.5 million in cap space, Winston was not among the players who were considered to be candidates for departure in the immediate future.
As observers were in the process of digesting the revelation concerning Winston, recently franchised OT Branden Albert responded with extreme surprise on twitter after he was informed of the transaction by a follower. As that conversation continued, Albert replied with a firm “Nope!” when he was asked if he would move from LT to RT. While Albert’s tweets have since been deleted, a cavernous hole along the Chiefs’ offensive line now exists.
But only for the moment. Because Reid and Dorsey might have disclosed their intentions for the first overall draft selection, by jettisoning the reliable Winston. Outland Trophy winner Luke Joeckel appears to supply the collection of skills that any franchise would want from their starting tackle. And it now becomes probable that Reid and Dorsey will target the former Aggie when it is time to choose the initial selection in this year’s draft.
It is possible that KC’s decision making tandem will select Eric Fisher, although it is more likely that Joeckel’s name will be announced immediately after the draft begins. That would not conclude the uncertainty concerning where Albert will ultimately line up, but it would provide the Chiefs with options. Joeckel (or Fisher) could be moved to RT, while Albert remains at LT. Or, Albert might eventually be persuaded to migrate to the right. Either way, Kansas City’s intentions with the first overall pick appear to have been unveiled.