Miami Dolphins

Branden Albert to Remain with Dolphins After Earlier Reports of Release

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 25:  Branden Albert #76 of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a game against the Houston Texans at Sun Life Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2017

The Miami Dolphins will not be releasing veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert after all.

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Hearld, Albert's name did not appear on the transaction list Thursday, which was the deadline.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald were among reporters who had reported Albert would be released and Laremy Tunsil was expected to shift outside to tackle to fill the void.

Salguero explained why the Dolphins had a change of heart on Thursday afternoon:

Although the team had made a decision to release the 32-year-old veteran, spoke to him Thursday morning to break the news, and Albert told his agents he was out, the plans changed sometime Thursday afternoon.

(...)

Per a league source with knowledge of the issue, it seems there is sudden and significant interest from at least one and perhaps other teams in acquiring Albert. And that being the case, the Dolphins are apparently going to pause and assess the possibilities.

Salguero added that this doesn’t guarantee Albert will be with the Dolphins in 2017.

Albert has two seasons left on the five-year, $47 million contract he signed with the Dolphins in 2014, according to Spotrac. His cap hit for the 2017 campaign would be $10.6 million, but letting him go would have left just $3.4 million in dead cap space.

Meanwhile, Tunsil is still operating under his rookie contract after Miami selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft. His cap hit for next season is just over $2.8 million, and assuming his fifth-year option eventually gets exercised, he's under team control through 2020, per Spotrac.

In addition, the Ole Miss product was viewed as a potential franchise left tackle and possible top-five pick after his time with the Rebels. A bizarre draft-night hacking incident that led to a picture of him using a gas mask and a bong getting posted on social media caused his stock to drop, though.

It's turned into good fortune for the Dolphins. Tunsil played well after moving to left guard due to the presence of Albert at tackle and didn't endure any off-field issues during his rookie year.

The 22-year-old Louisiana native did play a few games at left tackle while Albert was out with an injury. He told Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post at the time that changing positions was a tricky task.

"It's not that easy. Not that easy," he said. "It's a lot of hard work and preparation to play left tackle. As a matter of fact, the whole offensive line. But it's not like riding a bike. It's going to be a tough challenge. They've got good players on the other side of the ball."

Now the Dolphins begin exploring the trade market for Albert. The demand for reliable offensive tackles far outweighs the supply this offseason, which will make the 32-year-old veteran a coveted target, even though Pro Football Focus noted he wore down late last season.  

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