The Miami Dolphins need an offensive tackle. The Kansas City Chiefs seem to have an offensive tackle to trade after placing the franchise tag on Branden Albert and having the first overall pick, which they are most likely to use on Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel. Things seem to line up for the Dolphins to use one of their 11 draft picks to bring Albert to Miami and free the Chiefs to grab Joeckel and immediately install him as the left tackle.
But, what would it cost? Joel Thorman, the managing editor of Arrowhead Pride, SB Nation's Chiefs blog, and I played general managers over the past couple of weeks to try to work out a deal.
First, Thorman approached me, seeing if there was any interest in trading for Albert. Like Jeff Ireland getting a sixth round pick offer for Vontae Davis, I'm not going to jump just because there may be a way this deal makes sense.
"The Dolphins will most likely move Jonathan Martin from right tackle to his college position of left tackle to replace Jake Long. The main concern with Martin is really his strength, which he should be working on this offseason and come into camp ready to go.
"However, the Dolphins are clearly still searching for tackle help, either right or left. The most likely answer is for the team to sign Eric Winston to the right tackle position, but Winston seems to be looking for more money than Miami is willing to pay right now. I still think the two sides could come together, but it's not a guarantee.""There are other options available for the Dolphins, including starting the re-signed Nate Garner at right tackle, moving John Jerry from right guard to right tackle, a position he has played before, and either putting Garner in at right guard or finding a new guard.
"The team also has a wildcard in third year tackle Will Yeatman. As a rookie, Yeatman was a reserve tight end for the Dolphins. Last year, head coach Joe Philbin transitioned Yeatman to the tackle spot, though he only played a handful of snaps on offense. Philbin has had success with that move before, including former NFL guard Eric Steinbach who Philbin converted from tight end at Iowa.
"The Dolphins are clearly going to have to address the offensive line at some point, either in a free agency signing, a trade, or the draft. What they end up doing is still unclear, but it's definitely a position of need for Miami at this point."
To try to get an idea of how desperate the Chiefs are to get rid of the player they just franchised, I asked Thorman if placing the tag on Albert was simply a way for the Chiefs to try to trade him and get something in return for his departure, of if Albert was actually in the team's plan, but that the Chiefs won't rule out a trade.
"Ask a Chiefs fan what the tag means for Albert and you may get a few different answers. As recently as the beginning of March, I would've told you that the franchise tag for Albert meant the Chiefs were going to work out a long-term deal with him. In the short time Andy Reid and John Dorsey have been in Kansas City, they've identified the players they want and went out and got them ... and they were willing to overpay a little bit to do that (see: Alex Smith trade and Anthony Fasano's four-year, $16 million deal).
"But since then we've seen a lot of smoke coming out around a possible Albert trade. It's to the point where folks are publicly talking about what the Chiefs are seeking for in a trade. And it's also been reported that the Chiefs are the ones looking for suitors. So now I'm of the mind that a deal will actually get done, Albert will be traded, and the Chiefs will select Luke Joeckel with the No. 1 pick. Given the situation the Chiefs are in right now, I think trading Albert and drafting Joeckel is probably the best move for the long-term, but given that the Chiefs could've had both Winston and Albert this season, it seems like they have (or will) made some unnecessary moves at tackle."
So, now, as the Dolphins' GM, I'm not feeling a need to overpay to make this happen. In a scenario where I have to send draft picks away, plus sign Albert to a long term deal, the offer is going to have to overwhelm me. That's when Thorman came in with a 2013 second round pick and a 2014 fifth round pick as the asking price, also asking how likely the Dolphins are to pay the money needed to sign Albert to a long term deal.
"I don't like the idea of having to give up two draft picks, plus a large contract, for Albert. Miami has been very protective of their 11 draft picks this year, and seeing a second round pick, plus that fifth round pick in 2014, and a high dollar contract does not make much sense, especially when Miami could simply use on of their two second round picks on a tackle, fill the hole, and not have the monetary requirements needed to sign Albert long term. Miami would not give Jake Long the $8.5 million per season to which St. Louis agreed, so spending top dollar on Albert is not likely.
"I think sticking to free agency, trying to add Eric Winston, or possibly Andre Smith or Bryant McKinnie, makes more sense for the Dolphins right now. But, as the tackle market starts to shrink, the idea of trading for Albert will become more appealing, assuming no one lands in Miami."
Knowing that any trade talk is actually a negotiation, I asked Thorman how firm was his asking price. Is a second round pick this year a requirement, with only the 2014 selection to negotiate, or would any counter-offer be considered.
"The minimum on the price for Albert, I think, will be a second round pick. The Chiefs reportedly wanted a 2013 second round pick, which would recoup the one they lost in the Alex Smith trade, and an additional pick in 2014. That additional pick is the negotiating point. I don't think the Chiefs would stick to that. If someone offered them a second round pick, after some negotiating, they would do it."
At this point, it was pretty clear there would not be a deal made here.
And, in reality, no deal with the Chiefs have been made to bring Albert to Miami, and the speculation seems to have dissipated as well.
And, just for the record, Thorman finished our "negotiation" session with:
I was hoping you'd be all over it -- and we'd dupe you :)
Glad I got to disappoint him.