Branden Albert Traded to Jacksonville Jaguars for 2018 NFL Draft Pick

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2017

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

The Miami Dolphins officially reached an agreement Thursday to trade veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a 2018 seventh-round pick. 

The Jaguars welcomed Albert with a message on Twitter shortly after the new league year started Thursday: 

Adam Schefter of ESPN previously noted the move was part of two separate but related moves that also include tight end Julius Thomas:

Albert was previously involved in an unusual change of heart by Miami. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported the team planned to release the lineman before reversing course at the last moment upon receiving "sudden and significant interest" in him.

The Dolphins decided to explore the trade route because it represented a more cost-effective way of moving on from the 32-year-old tackle. Releasing him would have created $3.4 million in dead cap space for the 2017 season, according to Spotrac.

Either way, the franchise was starting a makeover of its offensive line this offseason by moving standout rookie Laremy Tunsil to the crucial left tackle spot. The Ole Miss product shifted inside to guard for most of his debut campaign after the team took him with the 13th overall pick.

While Tunsil, who was viewed as a potential franchise tackle after his time with the Rebels, held his own, the line struggled as a whole. Pro Football Focus ranked the group 30th in the NFL for 2016. 

Meanwhile, the biggest question surrounding Albert is whether he can still provide reliable production over the course of 16 games. He missed time due to injury during the second half of last season and didn't perform up to his typical standards down the stretch.

The Virginia product has a strong track record, though. He's spent nine years as an NFL starter between his stints with the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. He earned two Pro Bowl selections over that span.

Albert should slot right in as the Jaguars' starter at left tackle to replace Kelvin Beachum. Even though he's entering what's typically the twilight of a lineman's career, he should still provide better than replacement-level production for the final two years of his current deal.

As for the Dolphins, making the trade allowed them to lessen the financial burden compared to a release while also getting a little something in return. They can now move on to the Tunsil era at left tackle, which should lay the foundation for a better year from the line in 2017.

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