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Chiefs' Dorsey says franchise tag use unlikely

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm •  Published: February 21, 2014
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said Friday that he does not anticipate using the franchise tag on any free agents, something the team has done each of the past three seasons.

The Chiefs are poised to lose several key players from last year's 11-5 team, including Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert, Pro Bowl punt returner Dexter McCluster and starting defensive end Tyson Jackson, safety Kendrick Lewis and offensive guards Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz.

The deadline to use the franchise tag is March 3.

"Probably not," Dorsey said. "We probably won't use it."

The Chiefs used the tag on Albert last season, paying him more than $9.8 million — the average of the top five salaries at his position the previous year. They could franchise him again but would be on the hook for 120 percent of Albert's salary, a massive financial commitment for a team that is already bumping along just below the salary cap.

Kansas City used the franchise tag on linebacker Tamba Hali two years ago, eventually signing him to a long-term contract. The same story unfolded last year for wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who signed a $56 million, five-year contract one year after receiving the tag.

Dorsey did say that he's having "ongoing conversations" with representatives of all of the Chiefs' free agents, including Albert, but refused to get into the specifics.

"We will continue to have ongoing discussions with his representatives here at the combine," Dorsey said. "We've done is we've reached out to every representative for every unrestricted free agent that we have, and we've also talked to Alex Smith's representative as well."

Smith won't become a free agent until after the 2014 season, but signing him to an extension would not only lock him up but also offer some salary cap relief. Smith's number this is season is $8 million, but the Chiefs could trim that roughly in half with an extension.

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