The Miami Dolphins need to upgrade their offensive line this offseason, looking to find a replacement for Jake Long. Everyone knows it, and no one is denying it. The Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs have had discussions about a trade that would send Chiefs left tackle, and franchise tagged player, Branden Albert to Miami. The Chiefs have gone so far as allowing Miami to have discussions on possible contract terms with Albert. But, the team and the player still seem far apart on a deal. Albert is thought to be asking for somewhere around $8.5 million per season. Miami is not willing to pay Albert the same amount of money that they were not willing to pay Long.
Suddenly, the San Diego Chargers, who need offensive tackle help this year, have appeared in the potential landing spots for Albert. Convenient, isn’t it?
The Chargers need tackles. There’s no denying that – and they are actually worse off than Miami. They could use Albert, and would make sense as a landing place for him. But, as the contract talks with Miami stall, the Chargers become players in the market.
According to some reports, the Chargers would be willing to pay Albert not just $8.5 million per year, but actually between $9-10 million per season. In other words, about a million more per season than what four-time Pro Bowler Long got in St. Louis.
Could the Chargers be in the mix for Albert? Absolutely. Are they likely to be offering that huge amount? No.
This seems like a move by Albert’s agent to drum up someone to bid against the Dolphins, trying to make Jeff Ireland and Dawn Aponte blink, agreeing to the $8.5 million per season number. It’s a fairly blatant, and obvious, move. And, not one that is likely to shake Ireland or Aponte.
SB Nation’s San Diego Chargers blog Bolts from the Blue, came to the same conclusion:
In situations like these, you have to follow logic to figure out who would benefit most from this information. In this case, that would be Albert's agent that has been given the right to negotiate with the Dolphins by the Chiefs (who have placed the franchise tag on Albert).
Albert's agent wants to make it seem like the Chargers are chomping at the bit to get a shot at Albert, even though the Chargers are not allowed to talk with him about Albert without permission by Kansas City (which has not been granted). Also, the Chargers can't trade for Albert without the Chiefs agreeing to trade within their division, which there is no sign that they are willing to do.
In all likelihood, Albert's agent is once again asking for too large of a contract and has tried to drum up some non-existent competition for the Dolphins as a way to force them to agree to his terms. I'm assuming the Dolphins, the Chargers, the Chiefs and most of the NFL's fans will see right through this scheme and eventually Branden will end up settling for less-than-elite money.
While the Dolphins and Chargers could both be in the hunt for Albert, Miami is probably still the top possibility if he does not stay in Miami. And, if he does head somewhere else, I don’t think the Dolphins will be too upset by that result either.