KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs agreed to terms with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on a five-year contract Monday and effectively kept their other top potential free agent, left tackle Branden Albert, off the market by declaring him a franchise player.
The Chiefs also agreed to contract terms with punter Dustin Colquitt, another potential free agent.
By designating Albert as a franchise player, the Chiefs have offered him a one-year contract worth $9.83 million.
“We felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs to place the tag on Branden,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a statement announcing the move. “We will continue to negotiate with Branden and his agent to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We are looking forward to working with Branden in the near future.”
Albert said that while his agent and the Chiefs had talked about a long-term contract, they were nowhere close to an agreement.
“I’m happy for Dustin and Bowe and I’m happy for the organization. That’s all I’ve got to say about it. Bowe deserves it. Colquitt deserves it,” Albert said. “The organization locked up three players that are going to help them win.”
Bowe, who the Chiefs made a franchise player last season after both sides couldn’t agree on a long-term contract, has been the Chiefs’ leading receiver for the past four seasons following Tony Gonzalez’s trade to Atlanta.
The Chiefs did not announce Bowe’s contract, but he posted a message on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that read: “On vacation till I got the call that changed my life. I wanna thank the Hunt Family & the Chiefs organization.”
Colquitt had one of the best seasons of his NFL career last season, when he was chosen to the AFC’s Pro Bowl team. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Colquitt’s contract is for five years and $18.75 million, making him the highest-paid punter in the NFL.
The Chiefs did not disclose the terms of Colquitt’s contract but did release a statement confirming the agreement.
“John and I knew right away that we’d like to keep Dustin in a Chiefs uniform,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’s worked hard at his craft and has become one of the best punters in the NFL. He’s got a strong leg and the ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory. We are happy we were able to come to an agreement.”
Albert was able to start only one of the last six games of the season because of back spasms. The Chiefs were evidently confident enough in his ability to withstand the punishment of another season.
Retaining Albert for just one year wouldn’t seem to preclude the Chiefs from taking a left tackle, either Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan, with the first pick in the draft. Albert said he has had no discussions about the possibility of changing positions with Reid or offensive line coach Andy Heck but indicated the point was moot.
“I’ll be playing left tackle,” Albert said.