AFC East: Luke Joeckel

The Miami Dolphins may be coming to the realization that they cannot land a top left tackle with the No. 12 overall pick. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder and Adam Schefter, the Dolphins have re-opened trade talks with the Kansas City Chiefs for veteran tackle Branden Albert.

There is a lot of momentum for this trade to get done in the next 24 hours. The Chiefs hold the No. 1 overall pick and are expected to take one of the top two left tackles: Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher. The third-rated tackle, Lane Johnson, also is expected to go into the top 10 and would not be available to the Dolphins.

It’s no secret that Miami is desperate for a left tackle. Instead of giving up multiple picks to move up, which I did in this week’s blogger mock draft, the Dolphins may feel it’s best to give up a second-round pick for an older, proven left tackle.

Albert, 28, has 71 career starts in five years for Kansas City but has never been to the Pro Bowl. The Dolphins have been very aggressive in free agency. Albert currently has the one-year franchise tag and reportedly wants $8 million or $9 million per season.
As the Miami Dolphins continue their search for a starting offensive tackle, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports a new development out of Kansas City.

The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly seeking a second-round pick in this year’s draft and an additional pick in 2014 for starting left tackle Branden Albert, according to Schefter. Albert was recently given the franchise tag by the Chiefs, but they are also the favorites for Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel with the No. 1 overall pick. So Kansas City is looking to move Albert.

But is the asking price too much for Miami?

The Dolphins have the draft capital and cap space to work out a trade with Kansas City. Miami is looking for a replacement at left tackle for former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long, who signed with the St. Louis Rams. However, Albert would be costly.

Not only would Miami have to trade a second-round pick and an additional pick next season, Albert is looking for a sizable, multi-year extension. The Dolphins just handed out big contracts to receiver Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe in free agency. A third to Albert would further tighten Miami's salary cap for the next 2-3 years.

The Dolphins have more cost-effective options currently on the free-agent market, such as offensive tackles Eric Winston and Sebastian Vollmer. Both play primarily on the right side. That means Dolphins 2012 second-round pick Jonathan Martin would be a candidate to move to left tackle. But with this option, the Dolphins would keep their two draft picks and sign a starting offensive tackle at a more affordable rate.

Miami general manager Jeff Ireland has been free spending this offseason. But at some point the Dolphins need to pull back and tighten their pocketbooks. Albert is a good player, but the compensation and ensuing contract extension may be too costly for Miami.

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