Head coach Andy Reid put the Kansas City Chiefs' money behind his belief that the roster was good enough to compete for the playoffs immediately on Monday when he signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a five-year deal and used the franchise tag to retain offensive tackle Branden Albert.
The Chiefs also reportedly agreed to a five-year, $18.75 million contract with punter Dustin Colquitt.
The flurry of moves were the Chiefs latest major transactions in the past week. They are set to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers on March 12, the first day trades can be official and the start of the 2013 "league year."
Bowe agreed to a five-year contract and Albert, who said over the weekend he hadn't heard from the team regarding his contract status, was designated a franchise player. Both had shaky 2012 seasons as the Chiefs struggled to a 2-14 finish.
Bowe caught 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns playing with a revolving door of quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.
"When we first arrived, one of the first items on our agenda was signing Dwayne," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. "He's been a key player on our offense and is one of the premier players at his position. We are pleased that Dwayne will be a member of this team for years to come."
Albert was bothered by a back injury and the previous coaching staff felt he might be best suited at offensvie guard. Reid and Dorsey said last month at the Scouting Combine that Albert was viewed as a left tackle.
"Today was the league's deadline to designate a franchise player and we felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs to place the tag on Branden," Dorsey said. "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."
The next piece to fall into place for the Chiefs might not come via free agency, but the draft. The Chiefs own the No. 1 overall pick and could now be eyeing defensive help. They were 27th against the run and don't feature a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. Alabama's Dee Milliner or a number of pass rushers could be targeted by the Chiefs, who also are thin at linebacker.