Miami Dolphins Have A Branden Albert Problem


The Miami Dolphins will have some seriously thinking to do as the free agency period approaches and the draft a month later and all of it has to do with left tackle Branden Albert. Albert was placed on IR last season after injuring his knee. His opening day status for 2016 is unclear.

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At the center of the Dolphins “problems” is what to do if Albert isn’t ready for the start of the season. A very likely possibility. The team failed to take Albert’s back injury history into account when they completed their free agent spending. Through the process the team opted to not sign a back-up in case Albert was lost and when he did go down it was rookie Ja’wuan James who moved over to the left tackle position.

With Albert making progress but still months away the Dolphins have to decide if they are going to draft a lineman who can start in place of Albert should he not be healthy or sign a free agent bridge player to keep his roster spot until he comes back.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald points out that Albert may indeed not be ready for opening day.

"Though doctors are optimistic, Dolphins tackle Branden Albert said Friday he’s uncertain if he will ready for the regular-season opener after major knee surgery in November. “I hope I’ll be able to play the first game; I just don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see.”"

Albert has been seen limping since the season ended.

Miami has to make an early decision on Albert because waiting until the start of the season is simply too late. The dolphins offense was unable to protect Ryan Tannehill without Albert on the field. James did well enough at left tackle but the Dolphins severely suffered at right tackle where Dallas Thomas simply couldn’t get the job done. Waiting until the start of the season to gauge Albert’s health would be a mistake.

The best option for the Dolphins would be to sign a free agent guard who can start both tackle and guard. Doing so would allow the team to keep the 14th pick in April’s draft open for the best player available. It’s a decision that Dennis Hickey will need to weigh heading into the start of free agency season.