Branden Albert was a player often linked to the Bears.
But not anymore, after the Kansas City Chiefs used its franchise tag on Albert just before the 3 p.m. CST deadline Monday.
The Chiefs, in fact, announced a trio of moves this afternoon. In addition to franchising Albert, they also announced the signing of extensions for receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt.
As for the franchise tag, a total of eight teams used it this offseason, far below the record 21 from a year ago. For a second consecutive offseason, the Bears used the franchise tag.
The franchised players are: Safety Jairus Byrd (Bills), defensive tackle Henry Melton (Bears), defensive end Michael Johnson (Bengals), linebacker Anthony Spencer (Cowboys), offensive tackle Ryan Clady (Broncos), punter Pat McAfee (Colts), Albert and defensive tackle Randy Starks (Dolphins).
The next key NFL date is March 9, when a negotiating window begins for agents and clubs to work toward contracts for free agent players. Free agency officially starts March 12.