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All-Pro swan song in the AFC West?

1/9/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The AFC West is represented on the AP All-Pro team by three players.

There is a chance, however, two of the three players could be playing elsewhere next season. The representatives from the division were Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler and Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez. The future of all three players is up in the air but should be settled within the next two months.

Asomugha and Lechler are both free agents and Gonzalez could ask to be traded again. The Raiders will only be able to put the franchise tag on one player. Thus, they will have to choose either Asomugha or Lechler, leaving the other unprotected. Due to the Raiders' recent struggles, there is a strong chance they would be open to leaving on the open market. Each figures to be the most sought after player at his position.

While Asomugha is more valuable because he is a cornerback, he will also be much more expensive than Lechler to franchise tag. Oakland could decide to keep Lechler, but odds are the team will at least franchise tag Asomugha, even if it plans to trade him for a gaggle of draft picks and/or players in return.

Whatever the Raiders do, it will be a tough decision.

Gonzalez will also have to make a decision. In October, he asked the Chiefs to consider trading him but potential deals were scuttled at the deadline. Gonzalez has said recently that he is not sure if he wants to stay in Kansas City.

Part of him wants to retire as a Chief, but he doesn't want to go through a long rebuilding phase. If the Chiefs tell Gonzalez they are committed to winning in 2009, he might stay. Gonzalez, 32, had one of the best seasons of his career. His future in Kansas City could come down to who the Chiefs' new general manager is and what happens with head coach Herm Edwards.