Dolphins add Albert, Earl Mitchell
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The Dolphins neglected to bolster their offensive line in 2013. By signing Branden Albert, they avoided making the same mistake twice, writes James Walker. Story
MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins made a major move to bolster their offensive line at the start of free agency Tuesday, agreeing to a five-year, $46 million contract with Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Albert, a Pro Bowler with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, and Miami agreed to a five-year, $46 million deal that includes $25 million guaranteed, according to the sources.
The Dolphins also agreed to a contract with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. Mitchell, who played for the Houston Texans the past four seasons, is expected to land a four-year, $16 million deal that includes $9 million guaranteed.
Albert was widely regarded as the top left tackle available in free agency, and the position is also the biggest need for Miami. The Dolphins allowed a franchise-worst 58 sacks last season, and their running game ranked 25th in the league. Albert, 29, is expected to help in both areas.
Miami is in the process of rebuilding its offensive line. Former starting guards and free agents Richie Incognito and John Jerry, who were involved in the Dolphins' high-profile bullying scandal last season, are not expected to return, nor is tackle Jonathan Martin. Fellow tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie are well over 30 and also are unrestricted free agents.
Albert was the Chiefs' first-round draft pick in 2008. He immediately was given the job as starting left tackle, but it took some time for him to develop into a reliable player.
He had the best season of his six-year NFL career in 2013, when he participated in his first Pro Bowl. He played last season on a one-year contract as Kansas City's franchise player, but it was obvious he didn't fit into the Chiefs' plans for the long term when they drafted tackle Eric Fisher with the top overall pick in 2013.
Mitchell, 26, became a full-time starter in 2013 after the offseason departure of former nose tackle Shaun Cody. He led all nose tackles with 48 tackles last season.
A Houston native, Mitchell was selected out of Arizona in the third round of the 2010 draft.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN.com Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Texans reporter Tania Ganguli contributed to this report.
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