While the Jacksonville Jaguars begin team meetings at EverBank Field today, one noticeable absence is newly acquired tackle, Branden Albert. Several sources have reported the left tackle who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins in the offseason did not report to the team’s facilities and is holding out for a new contract.
According to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Albert was not present at the Jags’ first team meeting and that the offensive lineman is holding out for a new contract. Jacksonville acquired Albert from the Miami Dolphins this offseason in exchange for a 2018 seventh-round pick.
The 32-year-old lineman signed a five-year, $47 million contract in 2014. He’s slated to earn $8.875 million in 2017 and $9.575 million in 2018.
The move to acquire Albert came after the team released last year’s left tackle, Kelvin Beachum, who played in Jacksonville for one season. It was thought Albert would be a veteran building block on an offensive line that surrendered 34 sacks last season. The trade for Albert also meant an offensive tackle wasn’t a first-round need by this organization.
Because the meetings and workouts are voluntary, it also means Jacksonville cannot fine Albert for not showing on Monday.
Albert has had injuries the past few years and is 32-years-old. He is considered by Patra and other media as a stop-gap type of solution while the Jaguars draft someone to groom and take the left tackle position.
Albert was the first guard taken in the 2008 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was the second Virginia Cavalier (behind No. 2 pick Chris Long) selected. He was the highest selected guard since Chris Naeole went 10th overall to the New Orleans Saints in the 1997 NFL Draft.
Albert is a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2013 and 2015.
The Dolphins were about to release Albert before making the trade with the Jaguars. Injuries hampered his 2016 season, leading to rookie Laremy Tunsil moving into his slot during the year.