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Old 02-13-2013, 12:52 PM  
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Free Agent Duel: Bowe or Albert?

Free Agent Duel: Bowe or Albert?
PFF Analysis Team | 2013/02/13

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Andy Reid has just begun his reign as Kansas City Chiefs czar, and he is already tasked with a difficult decision. With two of his top offensive players due to hit free agency, he may have to choose between keeping Branden Albert or Dwayne Bowe. Should he stick with the elite pass protector, or the frustratingly talented wide receiver? PFF analysts Pete Damilatis and Gordon McGuinness argue both sides in another edition of our Free Agent Duels.

Why it has to be Albert
By Gordon McGuinness

New Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has just come from a situation in Philadelphia where he saw his starting left tackle miss the entire season due to injury. He saw the drop-off from Jason Peters to the combination of King Dunlap, who didnít fare terribly but struggled at times, and Demetress Bell, who was downright awful in all but one of his starts. So with that in mind, I think the Chiefs will be smart enough to realize what they have in left tackle Branden Albert.

Drafted out of Virginia with the 15th overall selection in the 2008 draft, not many people expected left tackle to be Albertís position long-term with a move to the right, or inside to guard predicted. However, through four seasons at the position he has continued to grow, leading to a very consistent past two seasons where he has graded out at +14.7 and +13.8, respectively.

The Chiefs may not have their franchise signal-caller yet, but when they do theyíll want to keep him upright. In that respect there are few players at his position out there better than Albert. Allowing just 17 total pressures from 378 pass blocking snaps in 2012, he finished the year with a Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) rating of 96.6, a mark which was tied for seventh among offensive tackles. Through the past two seasons he has allowed Chiefs quarterbacks to be hit or sacked just 16 times from 926 pass blocking snaps ó working out to be quarterback knockdown allowed just once every 57.8 pass blocking attempts.

As a run blocker he hasnít done much to get you excited, though he hasnít been awful either, with the Chiefs averaging 4.13 yards per carry on runs either side of left tackle in 2012. That shouldnít be enough to stop them making him their top re-signing priority however, especially with the free agent market looking deceptively full. There are plenty of good offensive tackles set to hit the open market, but most of them are predominantly right-sided players and the top left tackle available, Denverís Ryan Clady, is highly unlikely to see the open market, with the franchise tag a near certainty if they canít agree on a long-term deal. After Clady I donít think thereís a better option out there than Albert and, if the Chiefs are smart, theyíll recognize that and make sure he stays in Kansas City.

Why it Shouldnít be Albert
By Pete Damilatis

There are some teams who are desperate for a great blindside pass protector like Albert. The Chiefs however are not one of them. Albertís -3.7 run block grade this season didnít help a team whose best offensive weapon, Jamaal Charles, is a running back. Donít forget the back spasms that repeatedly sidelined him this season raise concerns about his long-term health. Also, unlike most teams, the Chiefs are in the perfect position to replace Albert with someone younger and cheaper thanks to their draft position.

Given the disastrous health and performance of their quarterbacks the past two seasons, Kansas City would love to take a franchise passer with its top pick. Unfortunately, it doesnít look like thereís a passer in this draft worthy of that selection. Instead, the top talent on most draft gurusí boards right now just happens to be a left tackle, Texas A&Mís Luke Joeckel. Even if Kansas City passes on Joeckel, this draft is deep enough at tackle that they could find Albertís replacement early in the second round. Thanks to the rookie wage scale, the Chiefs could draft and sign Joeckel, or another quality prospect, for less than $6 million per year, whereas negotiations with Albert would start with his $9.6 million franchise tag number. Most teams would love to have Albert. However, most teams donít have the ability to replace him as cheaply as the Chiefs do.

Why it has to be Bowe
By Pete Damilatis

Iíll admit that at this time last year, I declared the 2012 season would be Boweís final one in Kansas City. I thought they gave him the franchise tag to buy one more year to groom Jon Baldwin as their new No. 1 receiver. Of course, things did not unfold that way. Baldwin played just over half the Chiefsí offensive snaps and gained just 325 receiving yards with 1.09 Yards Per Route Run. Steve Breastonís production also plunged from 784 yards in 2011 to just 74 this season. A year after the Chiefs declined Bowe a long-term deal, he is still by far their biggest threat in the passing game.

Boweís tenure in Kansas City hasnít been a smooth ride by any means. He produced nearly 1,000 yards as a rookie despite holding out for part of training camp. He found himself in Todd Haleyís doghouse in 2009 before leading the league with 15 touchdown catches in 2010. This season his production dipped under 1,000 yards again before he was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-December. Although these ups and downs seem like the case of another enigmatic receiver, they are more an indication of the Chiefsí struggles under center.

Kansas City quarterbacks had a 69.1 passer rating when targeting Bowe this season, which looks bad until you see that Kansas City quarterbacks had a 63.9 quarterback rating overall. Of the 107 passes thrown to Bowe, only 65 were catchable. That 60.7 percent rate was 71st out of 82 receivers who saw at least 50 targets. Chiefs quarterbacks have a combined -33.6 PFF grade over the past two seasons, and even starter Matt Cassel has never earned a positive PFF grade in his four seasons in Kansas City. The last time Bowe had a healthy quarterback for a full season, back in 2010, his 118.4 WR Rating was the best of anyone with over 100 targets. Even in this seemingly lost season, Bowe still managed his third straight year with 2.00 YPRR, and he cut his once-awful drop rate to a career-low 9.23 mark.

Any Philadelphia Eagle fan will tell you that Reid loves to pass the ball, for better or worse. Whether it be Terrell Owens or DeSean Jackson, temperamental wide receivers have never scared the Chiefsí new head coach. Throw in a draft class thatís stacked with offensive tackles and light on elite wide receivers, and itís clear that Kansas City should make Bowe a part of its future.

Why it Shouldnít be Bowe
By Gordon McGuinness

Iíll agree with Pete when it comes to the level of quarterback play Bowe has had to deal with in Kansas City ó perhaps only Larry Fitzgerald has had it worse in recent times ó but thatís just not enough for me to think he needs to be kept by the Chiefs. His Drop Rate was indeed much improved this past season, however, since we began grading in 2008, Bowe has ranked 35th, 49th, 26th, 30th and, this season, 14th among all qualifying receivers in that regard and, for me, thatís just not good enough for a guy you are debating committing a substantial amount of money toward.

I understand where Peteís coming from in terms of saving money and bringing in Albertís replacement, but the truth is you just donít know what youíre getting from the draft. Whatís to say that the top offensive linemen in this class will perform well as rookies? Players like Robert Gallery were once considered ďsafeĒ prospects who could slot in at left tackle for 10 years straight out of college but, as Gallery highlights, it doesnít always work out like that. Yes, Albert is little more than an average run blocker, but heís a Top-10 pass blocker in my opinion, and I just canít justify letting that level of talent leave if Iím trying to rebuild a franchise.



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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
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Sign em both. We got the cap. Cut Casel, Jackson and use that money towards it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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Absolutely no excuse why it can't be both. Not playing.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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Sign em both. We got the cap. Cut Casel, Jackson and use that money towards it.
Agree 100%
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #6
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We need to keep Albert in order to not draft Jokeyll.

Bowe can be replaced. QB's make WR's who they are.

I'd rather keep them both.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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Alex Smith is really talented. BIG arm, very mobile. The injury is really just bad luck.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:55 PM   #8
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We need to keep Albert in order to not draft Jokeyll.

Bowe can be replaced. QB's make WR's who they are.

I'd rather keep them both.
So Huard, Thigpen, Croyle, Palko, Cassel, and Quinn made Bowe who he is?


Interesting.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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Both.

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Old 02-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #10
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Yep. Cut the ****stains who don't contribute positively and voila plenty of money. I'd cut Jackson in a heartbeat.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #11
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For once, just once, Id like to see Bowe with a REAL QB
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:59 PM   #12
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Didn't read because the only correct answer is "both".
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:01 PM   #13
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Sign em both. We got the cap. Cut Casel, Jackson and use that money towards it.
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Absolutely no excuse why it can't be both. Not playing.
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Agree 100%
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We need to keep Albert in order to not draft Jokeyll.

Bowe can be replaced. QB's make WR's who they are.

I'd rather keep them both.
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Originally Posted by GoWalrus View Post
Both.

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Didn't read because the only correct answer is "both".


So instead of duel... it should be dual.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:01 PM   #14
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ya, hopefully this is what we've been saving our cap space for. both are in their prime. It would be stupid to let either one of them go unless you can get a 1st round pick or some shit.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:04 PM   #15
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Sign one, tag the other. Sign them both. I dont really care how its done, just get it done
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