What was thought to be a done deal as late as Monday morning is now in a bit of a holding pattern? The assumed trade by the Miami Dolphins of tackle Branden Albert to Jacksonville is still in the works, but a few things had to happen for the deal to be complete.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Albert will be traded to the Jaguars for a late round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Originally, it was believed the two-time Pro Bowl player would be sent north up I-95 in exchange for tight end Julius Thomas. That trade was nixed, however, the Jaguars and Dolphins did complete a deal for Thomas that includes a late-round draft pick this year.
Reports from several media outlets and local television in Jacksonville had Branden Albert in Jacksonville on Monday talking with team officials, meeting with coaches and taking a physical before the trade could be finalized. Albert went to dinner on Monday night with Jaguars’ brass and spent the night to potentially consummate the deal.
NFL.com is reporting that If he agrees on a new (increased) salary and likes the fit of Jacksonville, they could reach a basic agreement today.
The move helps to solidify the Jaguars’ offensive line that surrendered 34 sacks last season, a dip from 51 given up in 2015. The team’s offensive line coach last season, Doug Marrone, is now the head coach, taking over for Gus Bradley.
Branden Albert is set to count $10.6 million on the salary cap. Moving on would save Miami $7.2 million on the cap. The veteran left tackle struggled last season while playing through injury — for reference, Pro Football Focus rated him their 65th best offensive tackle in 2016. However, he would be an upgrade for Jacksonville, who are not picking up Kelvin Beachum’s contract option.
The Thomas trade, which was agreed to late Monday, means the former Broncos star will be reunited with his former offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who is now the head coach of the Dolphins.
The offensive line especially left tackle, has been a concern for this team since 2002 when Tony Boselli was chosen in the Expansion Draft by the Houston Texans. The Jaguars have not found a suitable replacement for the former All-Pro player, where the position has been much of a revolving door. In 2009, the team spent a first-round draft pick on Eugene Monroe, but he was traded in 2013 to Baltimore. The Jaguars spent a first round pick on Luke Joeckel in 2013, but he has since been moved to left tackle and may not be brought back by the team after four injury-riddled seasons. Joeckel was moved to left guard this past season to make room for Beachum.