MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have plugged a big hole on the offensive line with the team’s first big free agent signing this year, left tackle Branden Albert, according to NFL.com.
According to NFL.com, the deal is for five years and $47 million, with $28 million guaranteed for the first three seasons.
The signing will be pending Albert passing a physical with the team.
The former Kansas City Chiefs standout was the Dolphins’ target since the team began assessing its free agent needs. Albert was listed as the number seven player available according to NFL.com’s Top 101 Free Agents of 2014.
The addition of Albert could be the best present Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill receives in 2014. Tannehill was sacked a franchise-record 58 times in 2013. While some of the sacks were from Tannehill holding the ball too long, most were from the offensive line collapsing around him.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Albert gave up only four sacks in 555 pass blocking snaps in 2013. PFF ranked Albert as the 11th best tackle in the NFL in 2013 and in 2012, in 2010 he was ranked sixth best in the league.
In addition, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, Albert allowed the fewest quarterback hurries in the NFL for offensive tackles. He allowed just 13 in 2013 and allowed just 12 in 2012.
If there is one area of concern about Albert’s game it would be penalties. ProFootballFocus said Albert had nine penalties against him last year, which was ninth-most in the league among all the offensive tackles measured. However, in 2012, Albert had just five penalties called on him that season.
While Albert excels at pass protection, his run rankings have been average. That has led many to believe the Dolphins will continue to rely heavily on the right arm of Tannehill, rather than trying to enhance the running game.
Albert stands 6’5” and weighs 315 pounds and will not turn 30-years-old until early November. If he can stay healthy, which he’s had problems with at times in the past; he should fortify the Dolphins’ offensive line for the next three to four seasons.
The signing of Albert, along with returning center Mike Pouncey, gives the Dolphins two Pro Bowl-caliber talents on the offensive line. The Dolphins still need to sign at least one more tackle and a guard to be in a good position heading into the 2014 NFL Draft.
But with Albert now on the team, the Fins’ offensive line has promise for the first time in several seasons.