It is unusual that a player of Albert's ability hits the open market. But this has a chance to happen for two reasons: 1) the Chiefs also have to worry about Dwayne Bowe and may opt to use the franchise tag on their No. 1 receiver; and 2) Kansas City knows it can actually upgrade the left tackle position by allowing Albert to walk and using the No. 1 overall pick on Texas A&M standout Luke Joeckel.
OT Branden Albert
The chance to fill a glaring void while weakening a division rival is simply a bonus.
If the Chargers whiff on Albert, the best Plan B is Giants LT William Beatty. New York wants Beatty back in a bad way, but Jerry Reese has other free agents to worry about, including DE Osi Umenyiora, WR Hakeem Nicks, S Kenny Phillips and TE Martellus Bennett.
Beatty battled back issues last summer, but was healthy enough to start 15 of 16 games, allowing just three sacks in the process. He has only allowed eight sacks in 31 career starts; Jeromey Clary, by comparison, allowed more sacks than that in just 14 games last season (9.5).
Beatty is no slouch against the run, either. Pro Football Focus gives him the third best run-block grade of any left tackle.
Other options include Gosder Cherilus of the Detroit Lions, a natural right tackle with the pass-protection skills to play on either side of the line; Ryan Harris of the Houston Texans, who has a history with Mike McCoy from their time together in Denver; and Eben Britton of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a guard/tackle who would provide depth more than anything else.
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Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.