Chiefs tag Albert, sign Colquitt, agree with Bowe

It hasn’t taken long for the new regime of the Kansas City Chiefs to make an impression.

The Chiefs announced Monday they signed punter Dustin Colquitt to a new contract, agreed on a five-year deal with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, and placed the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert.

All three of the players were due to become free agents.

The moves come less than a week after new Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid acquired quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers for their second-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional selection in next year’s draft.

The Chiefs had until Monday afternoon to decide whether to place the franchise tag on any of their free agents, and they wound up doing it with Albert, who will make $9.828 million next season.

A former first-round pick, Albert has developed into one of the better left tackles in the league. He made only 11 starts and appeared in 13 games last season because of injuries, but has otherwise offered dependable blindside protection for Chiefs quarterbacks.

“We felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs to place the tag on Branden,” Dorsey said in a statement. “We will continue to negotiate with Branden and his agent to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We’re looking forward to working with Branden in the future.”

The decision to franchise Albert was made easier by reaching deals with Bowe and Colquitt.

Bowe was the recipient of the franchise tag last year. He was unhappy with the decision and didn’t report to training camp until it was well under way, but still managed to catch 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns despite weak quarterback play.

Bowe sent out a tweet Monday with a photo of him on the phone that said: “On vacation till I got the call that changed my life. I wanna thank the Hunt Family &the Chiefs organization.”

Financial terms of Bowe’s agreement were not immediately available.

The first-round pick of the Chiefs in 2007, Bowe has already become one of the most prolific pass-catchers in franchise history. He’s started 82 games over the past six seasons, with 415 catches for 5,728 yards and 39 touchdowns — 15 coming in 2010, when he made the Pro Bowl.

Bowe has been the Chiefs’ leading receiver the past four seasons.

His loss would have left the Chiefs desperately thin at wide receiver, where they’ve already released Steve Breaston and have yet to see much production from Jonathan Baldwin.

Colquitt’s new contract, which ESPN.com reported was for five years and $18.75 million, makes him the highest-paid punter in the league. The Chiefs did not disclose his contract terms.

Colquitt made his first Pro Bowl last season after averaging 46.8 yards per punt.

“John and I knew right away that we’d like to keep Dustin in a Chiefs uniform,” Reid said in a statement. “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.”

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