The Kansas City Chiefs have given the Miami Dolphins permission to negotiate with LT Branden Albert so that the two teams can facilitate a trade but according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, no deal will go through unless Albert lowers his asking price.
This is only going to happen if the price on Albert – particularly the $8 million-$9 million a year it’s believed he’s seeking in a long-term deal – comes down significantly. Albert is a franchise player, which comes with a one-year, $9.8 million base. Kansas City would love to get a second-round pick for him, clearing the way for the Chiefs to take Luke Joeckel at No. 1 overall and then get another player rather than take Joeckel and then lose Albert to free agency after the season. The problem for the Chiefs is that this move is actually counterintuitive for the Dolphins, who already let Jake Long leave for less than what Albert is looking to make. While Long has a longer laundry list of injuries (knee, elbow, biceps, back), Albert has also dealt with a back problem. To overpay for Albert and give up a second-round pick to get him would be pretty questionable for the Dolphins. Then again, the idea of having Jonathan Martin at left tackle could force the Dolphins to panic.
This isn’t any new information. The deal was always going to hinge on Miami and KC working out a deal and it was always probably going to involve Albert giving in just a bit. But Cole has a point. The Dolphins let Long go because he was asking for too much money.
Still, it has been reported that the Dolphins are aware of how much money Albert is looking for. If Miami is negotiating with the LT, then they must believe they have at least a shot of getting something done.
The fact of the matter is, it is going to be very, very hard for the Dolphins to guarantee that they can get one of the top tackles in the draft. At the same time, this is Albert’s best chance to get a sizable, long-term contract. If the deal with the Dolphins falls through, Albert will likely have to play the 2013 season for the Chiefs under the franchise tag. That would be a big risk for Albert. Should he injure himself or play poorly, his long-term security could be out the window.
If Albert’s camp is wise, they’ll work out reasonable deal with the Dolphins, even if it means coming down a couple of million.
If the deal does fall through, it will be interesting to see what the Chiefs decide to do at No. 1. Will they still snag a LT, thinking that Albert is bound to leave next season, or will they opt to take another position and hope they can massage their cap number in 2013 to re-sign Albert for 2014 and beyond?