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Potential trade of Branden Albert leads to Miami not releasing left tackle

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins were expected to release Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert on Thursday, freeing $7.2 million in salary cap space and installing second-year offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil as the blind-side protector for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Then something changed, and Miami made their roster moves for the day without Albert’s name included. Why?

According to multiple media reports throughout Thursday, the Dolphins held on to the release because there is apparent trade interest in Albert. The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero described the interest as “sudden and significant.” A trade cannot be finalized until the start of the new league year on March 9, so the Dolphins have time to review any offers - with the trade interest possibly from more than one undisclosed team - before they make any decision. Trading for Albert could keep him from hitting the open market, keeping teams from competing for his services and guarantee the interested team lands the two-time Pro Bowler.

Miami is still expected to move on from Albert, who they acquired in free agency in 2014. He played 35 games for Miami over three seasons, missing at least two games each year. He was selected as an all-star in 2015, his second year with the team, backing up his 2013 Pro Bowl selection with the Kansas City Chiefs, the season before joining the Dolphins. The team has reportedly told Albert he will not be with the club this year, and the player has informed his agent. Now, it is just a waiting game to see if a trade can be found.

Basically, Miami is hoping they can pick up some kind of compensation for a player they were going to release without receiving anything, and they are doing it at a time that costs them nothing as they wait to see if a deal materializes.