Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have a hole at left tackle and are reportedly considering trading for Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert, a former first-round pick. The biggest question is would it be that much of an upgrade for the Fins?
Albert had a good season in 2012, but has battled injury problems in the past. While not to the same degree as former Dolphins left tackle Jake Long, Albert’s only played in 16 games once in his career. Plus, to get Albert, the Fins would have to sign him to a long-term contract.
If healthy and at the top of his game, Albert would provide a solid left tackle for the Miami Dolphins and allow Fins general manager Jeff Ireland to focus on other positions in the NFL Draft. Ireland has gone into win-now mode and is likely drafting for his career starting next Thursday.
But, the bigger question is why would the Chiefs want to get rid of Albert if he’s good enough to be a starting left tackle in the NFL. While it’s true that Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are expected to be great players, the Chiefs were awful last year and could use talent in other places if Albert can hold down the position.
Albert’s contract with the Fins would be larger than any rookie will receive in the NFL Draft this year thanks to the rookie salary structure. But, he will also cost the Dolphins a second-round pick which the Fins could use on cornerbacks, defensive ends, and other positions.
On the flip side, the Dolphins could try to trade into the number three or four spot in the draft to have a shot at drafting Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan or Joeckel if he somehow wasn’t selected by the Chiefs number one overall.
Moving up would likely cost the Dolphins a second-round pick, plus the team’s first-round pick, and possibly a later round pick. If Miami can get up that high and get one of the top two left tackles, it would be cheaper fiscally than Albert, but would cost more picks.
Of course, if the Fins traded for Albert and held on to their first-round pick, it could open the team up to possibly taking either one of the two elite guards in the first round to completely solidify the offensive line or to taking one of the top cornerbacks to help fill holes in the secondary.
But these are the questions Ireland must answer between now and next Thursday as the Fins debate what to do in the NFL Draft which starts next Thursday.