Just when you thought the Miami Dolphins had finished their offseason shopping, they reach for another shopping cart. They plan on starting this one off with the trading for and signing of Chiefs left tackle - and malcontent - Branden Albert.
As of right now it is rumoured that the Chiefs are letting the Dolphins negotiate with Albert, who is also visiting the Dolphins facilities. Some have even reported that he’s already done a physical with the team. This definitely sounds like the precursor to a deal, but is it one the Dolphins should make?
There is no denying they have a need at left tackle. That became clear when Jake Long opted to sign with the St.Louis Rams in free agency. I’m not sure this is the right approach to this roster deficiency though. As Jeff Ireland is likely to find out, eventually, you can’t buy your way into the Super Bowl.
When the Dolphins began the offseason they had nearly $40M in cap space. That number has now shrunk to an estimated $8.3M following their free agency splurge. That doesn’t leave much in the way of room for Albert on his franchise tag which carries a value of $9.828M. The line of thinking surrounding this potential sign-and-trade has his number dropping somewhere in the neighbourhood of 8 to 9 million annually on a long term deal, but that still leaves little in the way of flexibility in either the short or long term. Assuming a long term deal doesn’t force them over the cap, it at the very least forces the Dolphins into making some tough roster decisions and ensuing cuts just to sign their draft picks. The dollars just don’t make sense.
You also have to factor in the fact that the Dolphins have the 12th overall selection in this year’s draft. While you’d have to be bordering on delusional to expect one of either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher to still be on the board, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Lane Johnson is still available. Not only would be Johnson be younger and cheaper than Albert, but he has a higher ceiling than Albert and considerably more good years ahead of him. There’s no guaranteeing any draft pick will work as planned, but the beauty of it is it won’t hamper the team financially for the foreseeable future if Johnson doesn’t. Which is highly unlikely.
Albert would be a great pickup for just about any team in need of a starting tackle, but in the case of the Dolphins there are too many hoops to be jumped through to make it work. Both now, and in the future when they try to either resign developed talent or add it in free agency. For now at least, it’s time Ireland put his cheque book down. If not now, he could be forced too for several off seasons to come.
You can follow J.D. Burke @JDBurkeOV