Neil’s NFL Daily: April 19, 2013

Trade Branden Albert? Neil chimes in on the Chiefs' left tackle situation.

| 4 years ago
NFL-Daily-Feature

Neil’s NFL Daily: April 19, 2013


The “big” news yesterday was the 2013 schedule release, which, if I’m honest, I have difficulty getting excited about. Not being a follower of any particular team and already knowing which team will play another (just not the order) I can take the whole thing or leave it. You have to tip your hat to the NFL though for manufacturing yet another “event” in the calendar and getting a pretty large percentage of fans behind it.

Therefore with little happening in terms of signing let’s dig into detail on a significant move that’s brewing and what the benefits are for each side.

 

Friday, April 19th

Chiefs Give Dolphins Permission to talk to Branden Albert’s Agent

At its core, the prospect of Kansas City trading Albert to the Dolphins makes sense; the Dolphins need a quality left tackle as the thought of entering the season with Jonathan Martin there is worrying while the Chiefs’ front office seems to have soured on Albert so much they feel taking a tackle with the No. 1 overall pick is a good option. There’s multiple parts to this particular jigsaw but as it all centers on Albert let’s start there and examine just how good he is.

Despite my protestations to the contrary I’ve seen many people quote our stats to the effect “Albert is PFF’s 25th-ranked tackle in 2012 or 17th-ranked left tackle”. This paints him as a mid-tier player and as such not a huge upgrade on Martin. I think that’s taking our work out of context and not fair on Albert who I personally feel is a much better player than that.

If you, like I, assume pass blocking is the most important part of a tackle’s job and rate players in that order he becomes the 11th-rated tackle and ninthplaced left tackle. Further, when you dig into our advanced normalization data (we don’t have this on the site but it takes account of teams whose quarterback gets rid of the ball quickly, giving them an unfair advantage) he becomes the sixth tackle with only Joe Thomas, Russell Okung, Michael Roos, Andrew Whitworth and Ryan Clady ahead of him. As for his run blocking, it’s always been a little disappointing for an ex-guard but not problematic and similar to those other tackles I’ve just mentioned with the exception of Okung who is better than the rest in that regard.

On that basis Albert should be looking for a contract similar to the one Will Beatty signed before free agency at $7.5M per year. He’s a better player than Jermon Bushrod who got $7M from the Bears and although he has better history than Beatty doesn’t have Giants upside or ability as a run blocker so something equivalent is equitable. I’m sure the Dolphins would prefer to only give up a three in exchange but a two is probably a fairer reflection of his worth.

So for Miami, if they can get Albert for the above, still have a No. 1 pick to bolster their defense and shore up the biggest weakness on the team, the deal would be a good one but what about Kansas City?

This is where I struggle with the whole thing frankly. The Chiefs are a very talented team who but for a perfect storm of issues shouldn’t have been close to the first pick in the draft. They now have that golden opportunity and seem to be on the verge of using it to make a lateral move. I have no idea how good Luke Joeckel is or will become (or any of the other tackles for that matter) but I do know he is still just a tackle and tackles do not win games; particularly if you had a good player at that position anyway. Even if Joeckel becomes the best left tackle in the league, the difference between him and Branden Albert is probably five to 10 additional QB disruptions a year on 500 passing attempts – so a best case scenario gives you a 1-2% improvement – is that really great value?

With the rookie wage cap expect the first pick to save Kansas City maybe $2M a year on Albert, pick up at very best a marginally better player and net them a second round pick (which as we know from Khaled’s recent Draft Grader series, is still a lottery).

Call me wild, but for a team as loaded in many positions as the Chiefs, that looks like a singularly unambitious strategy.

 

PFF Mail Bag

Value Real and Perceived

Remember we argued about Lawrence Jackson being overrated. Has he even gotten a sniff in FA? Told you he was just a guy. When a guy gets no interest coming off his rookie contract — probably not a very good sign. – @realjeffsimmons

Not so much a question, but I’ll take it anyway as it allows me to make a point I’ve been meaning to for some time.

I’m not sure how the “argument” went because I wasn’t involved, but I question how what a team does or doesn’t do makes a point unless some of our team went off piste.

We are not by nature trying to predict what NFL teams will do. That’s what the guys who spend all day on their cells attempt; they press their contacts for information and pass it on as rumor, gossip, or on occasion, something with more substance.

We have relations with a ton of agents and teams but if we become party to information as a result, the last thing we are going to do is publish that on our site; that’s not our role and breaks levels of trust that gives us access to information that allows us to do our job better.

As the only people to study and grade every player on every play of every game we tell you what we think should happen and why (that’s just what I did above). If we like Jackson and NFL teams don’t that doesn’t make us wrong unless we said he would be snapped up immediately. We are giving our value of a player and not an NFL team’s.

It’s a bit like a draft scout who put Vernon Gholston in the sixth round of his mock. Any old fool can tell you that he would go in the first but we are far more interested in knowing where he should have gone.

 

Past editions of Neil’s NFL Daily.

 

Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil

 

| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • Neo

    Vikings just brought in Lawrence Jackson for a visit apparently…

  • Pat

    “On that basis Albert should be looking for a contract similar to the one Will Beatty signed before free agency at $7.5M per year.”

    That’s the entire issue. If Albert was willing to take $7.5M a year, the Chiefs would have had him signed months ago.

    • jim

      Exactly, he’s asking for top 5 $, which equates to $9-$10 mil/yr.

      • Spencer

        look at Long’s contract he deserves that…I think the issue is simply Dorsey doesn’t like him and is sitting still at this point…the Chiefs have shown zero respect to Albert and Dorsey likely has had his mind set since the beginning on this…their has been essentially no talking between either side on getting a deal done…and that’s all Dorsey…both are being stubborn…Dorsey just doesn’t have the luxury of being stubborn and he is being just that…dude had taken a completely wrong approach to Albert and so far I would grade him as a D+ as the Gm thus far…he has done some good moves…but most of those good moves includes also overpaying for guys…and rushing into it, he rushed into Alex Smith (i like the acquisition, never have liked the price-49ers raped Dorsey here) Over priced on an aging Dunta Robinson that has shown he should at this point be more of a slot corner or safty then starting outside corner…Sean Smith was good-is,h…not awful by any means and appropriate, but not the best either…he has dealt with Albert completely wrong…likely over-payed for Danial’s, released Winston pre-maturely and possibly opening up major holes on our O-line…Winston was cheap on the salary cap, he was expensive but it was a very easy deal on our salary cap…I can see why he did it for how Winston wasn’t deserving to so much money and isn’t a good scheme match with Reid…but he knew about Albert long before hand (i call bull shit if anyone says else wise…either that or he is just an idiot-Dorsey)

        meh…this years free agency has been exactly the same as last years in my opinion, looks good on paper (kinda) but really, has it actually been good??? over-paying for players isn’t a good deal…if the Chiefs prove else-wise (i would give all the profit to Reid, not Dorsey) good job, but seriously Dorsey has done 1 good thing (given us a lot of room in drafting) and yet he has negated that in 2 bad things (over-paying for players) and Albert/Winston…giving us a huge hole and making us one dimensional draft prospect wise to every other team and de-valuing our pick jsut because of that…everyone can assume what we are going to do…draft a tackle

  • http://twitter.com/shaytron shayaan

    could not agree more with your take on the chiefs trading albert and drafting an LT at #1 to replace him.

  • D

    Question is, what would you do if you were the GM of the Chiefs? Sounds like you would sign Albert – what would your move be with the #1 pick?

  • Matt

    Great article Neil – as an avid KC fan, I have grown tired of Albert’s ‘me 1st’ attitude as a total sideshow to what is a very exciting new era in KC. While all but 1 player was at the KC mini camp learning a brand new scheme with a new coaching set up, he was in Florida. He has said he won’t play at G or RT, out himself regulary above that of the team, and being that he is on a good contract already should play wherever he is best needed by the team. Joeckel can come in as a more accomplished pass protector, has a great attitude and wants to play for the Chiefs, at a much lower salary possibly for the next 10 years. Unfortunately Albert thinks he is a premier LT and worth a lot of money. One thing you did omit is that KC would love to have that 2nd round pick back, a round that this year will provide many great players, so the value could be great for us. Upgrade, less money, commitment, team ethic and a 2nd rounder, which in my opinion is as good as a 1st rounder this year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RLEngland Robert England

      Albert has said over and over that he wants to remain in KC. He says that the Chiefs haven’t even talked to him about making a long term commitment to him. He’s staying away until they clarify their position. I don’t blame him. A rookie LT IS NOT an upgrade over Albert. At the absolute very best it is a lateral move, which as stated above, only nets a savings of $2M a year. If Albert isn’t protecting Alex Smith’s blindside then get ready for Smith to miss more than his customary 6 games a season.

  • LightsOut85

    You don’t have such normalization in the premium stats? I would have thought the grades would take that into account (that is, a good pass-block on a 2 second pass would get you a lower grade for that play than one on a 5 second pass). I thought that was the whole PURPOSE of the grades (example for DL – a pressure coming by quickly beating the blocker versus one gotten b/c the QB held the ball a while & other players forced the QB to the subject).

  • http://twitter.com/ClaytonNicholas Nicholas Clayton

    As a retort, I would just ask who you would pick #1 if not a tackle? Dion Jordan could make some sense, but the Chiefs already have two very good starting edge rushers. Star Lotulelei? You’ve killed the Chiefs in the past for their selection of a run-stuffing DT in Tyson Jackson at 3rd overall. I think that the regime views this draft as one where the only worthy and sensible picks are offensive tackles, and they’re currently paying an LT coming off a back injury $9.8 million, with no guarantee he will return after this year. Meanwhile, they have no pick in the 2nd round, which could be a sweet spot this year for skill position players and other falling prospects.

    • Daniel Gleeson

      Yeah, I think the desire to trade Albert says more about what the Chiefs think of the quality of the draft. If they have Joeckel as by far the best player in the draft, or at least none of the other top-tier prospects are in positions of need; then I think there is some logic in this move. Similarly they also probably see there will probably be some good players available in rd. 2 and want to be in the mix there. I don’t think you can definitively say whether trading Albert is right or wrong without knowing how the Chiefs grade this year’s draft class AND how the relationship with Albert is.

  • headchief

    So if your logic with Albert is right, then someone with skin cancer shouldn’t worry about addressing it since it doesn’t affect the whole body.

    One thing that the media doesn’t understand is that Albert and his type are a cancer. Sure Kansas City could give him a lucrative contract and be terrible for years under the locker room leadership of a player who loves himself over all else, or they could improve by bringing in veterans who buy into the team concept, and rookies who have great upside.

    Plus Albert being a disappointment as a run blocker has everything to do with losing games. If you can’t establish the run your passing game is terrible, and vice versa. Stats never give you the complete picture and people posturing themselves as “experts” from stat data should get off their cans and get into a huddle for once.

    • Spencer

      completely false…one actually look up the chiefs stats past last yr run blocking wise…he has been good, 1 yr does not negate the 2 prior….secondly 1 yr of doing this doesn’t ruin his persona…i’m sure u were happy about Bowe getting signed no??? well last yr their better be proof of u hating on him or else yur logic is completely false…Bowe did the exact same thing…as have multiple other player…they care for their lives more then the team…i don’t blame any human being valuing themselves before the team, it’s called he is trying to keep his family in good fortune for years to come..not one yr…he isn’t a cancer unless he is talking like crazy to the media and just being an idiot…he hasn’t been that and no one has heard of issues with him in the locker room before hand…and more to do with the stats…look at our bloody game plan last yr…run outside with charles, pass to bowe…it was simple, stop the outside run, lock down on bowe…other team wins…then look at Albert with at least a good game plan the two yrs prior…he is damn good, people seem to think a yr makes a career…it doesn’t…especially when a yr was last yr where..well look at that coaching staff and our gameplans

      anyway, him not being at camp is probably good, less distractions to the rest of the team in the time being…unless he isn’t here once training camp starts (if we still have him) i see no problem with him

      (side note) also last yr his pass protection skills were also probably bloated…because of our simple offensive game plan again, but his run blocking has not been bad…his entire career he has been at least average and the 2 yrs prior to last yr he was top 10…his pass protection has been improving and he is one o the better in the league…but last yrs stats for half this team in reality i would throw out…stats like u said don’t show what happens….this team was ridiculously simple to plan against…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bart-DePalma/100000533772113 Bart DePalma

    “Call me wild, but for a team as loaded in many positions as the Chiefs, that looks like a singularly unambitious strategy.”

    shhhhh… Don’t mess up a good thing for Miami with logic.