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Thomas Reportedly Could Be Moved in Albert Deal
Sunday, Feb. 19
Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel reported the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dolphins are discussing a deal that would send tight end Julius Thomas to Miami in exchange for Albert. Kelly noted the deal "may be contingent" on both Thomas and Albert reworking their contracts.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald first reported Friday that the Jaguars had emerged as a destination for Albert. He noted there are numerous hurdles to clear before the trade period opens March 9 in order for the sides to complete a deal, though.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network confirmed the report, noting that at this point, the Jaguars are the "primary destination" for the tackle.
The Dolphins were set to move on from Albert on Thursday before changing their mind late in the process due to "sudden and significant interest" in him, according to a previous Salguero report. So the front office decided to keep him on the roster, at least for the time being.
It's still hard to imagine a scenario where the 32-year-old Virginia product remains with Miami heading into next season, though. He's coming off a lackluster finish to the 2016 campaign, and the team has Laremy Tunsil, who played guard as a rookie, ready to take over at left tackle.
That said, a trade would be the preferred method of Albert's exit for the Dolphins.
Spotrac pointed out releasing the two-time Pro Bowl selection now would leave $3.4 million in dead cap space for 2017. He's under contract through 2018 with a cap hit of $10.6 million for next season and $11.3 million for the final year of the deal.
That's why making a deal, even if the return isn't significant, makes more sense than merely letting him go. But the situation with Jacksonville is more complicated.
Salguero stated the Jags would prefer to give up a conditional pick in 2018, while the Dolphins want a selection they could use in the upcoming 2017 draft. Salguero also noted at the time that Thomas was a potential trade chip as an unwanted contract.
While the Fins could use an upgrade at tight end, Thomas isn't the most attractive option. He's failed to provide much production since leaving the Denver Broncos to join the Jags, and he owns a cap hit that rises from $8.3 million to $10.3 million over the next three years, per Spotrac.
Ultimately, the Dolphins are limited in their amount of leverage for trade talks after the reports surfaced Thursday about their plans to release Albert. So they should take the best offer on the table once March 9 arrives, even if it's only a conditional pick in the future.
It's time for the team to rebuild its offensive line, which Pro Football Focus ranked 30th in the NFL for the 2016 season, with Tunsil as the key building block on the left side.
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