Reporting Tim Kephart
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KANSAS CITY (CBSMiami) – Will Branden Albert become the next left tackle for the Miami Dolphins? That’s the question that is officially on the clock for Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland as the NFL Draft approaches on Thursday.
The Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs are believed to be talking about a possible trade of Albert to Miami in exchange for a second-round pick. However, Albert will have to agree to a long-term contract with Miami for the deal to go through.
However, according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, Albert is looking for a contract worth between approximately $8 million to $9 million per year. That’s roughly equivalent to what former Dolphins left tackle Jake Long received from the St. Louis Rams.
Albert is being shopped because he doesn’t want to play right tackle and the Chiefs are widely expected to select Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel with the number one pick in the draft on Thursday.
The Dolphins have a hole at left tackle and while they have the draft picks to move up in the first round, it will cost multiple picks to get up high enough to secure left tackle Eric Fisher or Joeckel if he falls past the first pick.
Plugging in Albert would cost the Fins more in compensation to Albert, but it would also leave the Fins with a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and two third-round picks to continue filling out the roster heading into the 2013 season.
Last season, Albert was ranked as the ninth-best pass blocking left tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus and only allowed one sack all season long. Considering the Chiefs were always playing from behind and throwing the ball a lot, that’s not a bad thing for Albert’s resume.
The question for the Fins to answer is whether the money justifies the expense of signing Albert to a long-term deal. Currently, the Dolphins have approximately $8.79 million in salary cap space, but will free up another $10 million on June 1, effectively giving the Fins $18.79 million in cap space.
The Fins could also free up more than $4 million in cap space by cutting cornerback Dmitri Patterson at any point in the offseason, so cap space isn’t the question.
The question is whether Albert is worth it long-term and thus far, the Dolphins haven’t been willing to make that commitment.