Sometimes the devil is in the details and that's where the Dolphins are with Branden Albert.
As multiple media sources reported Wednesday, and as I reported on this blog on March 22, the Dolphins are considering making a trade for the Kansas City Chiefs franchise player.
[Update: John Clayton of ESPN is reporting the Dolphins have been given permission to speak with Albert and he'll visit the Dolphins and take a physical soon. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald is reporting the sides are talking contract.]
On its face, the idea makes sense.
The Dolphins lost left tackle Jake Long to St. Louis in free agency. The club has a need and coach Joe Philbin didn't exactly endorse the idea of Jonathan Martin as his starting left tackle when he discussed the issue last month. The Dolphins also had a price point for Long and they have not used the cap space that was intended for Long on anyone else.
So the team can afford to sign Branden Albert and believes Albert to be a left tackle upgrade over Martin.
The devil is in the details.
The only way this trade makes sense is if the Dolphins do it in conjunction with another trade and only after Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel comes off the board on draft day. That's right, this trade only makes sense if Joeckel isn't available because if he is on draft day, the Dolphins look like fools.
If Joeckel goes No. 1 overall to Kansas City, then the Dolphins can be certain the best LT in the draft is gone and they move on. But if KC picks Eric Fisher and Joekel drops to No. 3 or No. 4, the Dolphins must, must, must try to trade up to get him. That move would be expensive in that it would require a second-round pick and other considerations. But it makes more sense than the Albert trade because that also will require a second-round pick plus a more expensive contract than Joeckel.
And Joeckel, unproven in the NFL as he is, is probably going to be a better player than Albert.
So the Dolphins would be going for a better player (Joeckel) using basically the same draft pick compensation (well, maybe more expensive but only slightly) and pay a lower contract in the transaction.
So if the Dolphins don't wait for draft day to make this Albert trade, they're not really thinking through all the contingencies. And if Joeckel then falls, the Dolphins will look downright foolish.
Then there is this:
Even if Joeckel goes No. 1 overall as expected, the Dolphins can simply trade a No. 2 for Albert, but they would still look kind of silly. You see, why pay a high draft pick and a big contract to Branden Albert when you could have had Jake Long for the big contract and kept the pick?
You mean to say the Dolphins played hardball with Long only to cave on Albert?
I understand Long is seemingly diminished and often injured. Trust me, I made the point here many times. But Albert comes with no guarantees, either. He basically had a very good season in 2012. But it was only good enough for the Chiefs to want to trade him. He's been injured during his career. He's struggled with weight issues. He was a turnstile in 2009, giving up nine sacks.
And, again, the Chiefs are willing to let him go so they can draft a rookie to play the same position.
So it's not like Branden Albert is a slam dunk worth-it move.
This is where the devil has to be in the details.
If the Dolphins pay Albert as much as Long got in St. Louis, they look dumb. If the Dolphins get Albert for much cheaper, they still have a find a way to recover that second-round pick they still gave up for him.
And how do they do that?
Well, here is my perfect scenario that would prevent me from thinking the Dolphins got ripped off on getting Branden Albert. If the Dolphins trade away their lower of two second-round picks for Albert and then trade down from No. 12 overall to a lower pick in the first round while then pickinng up a second-rounder for the move, I'll be straight. I'll be good.
The haul would then be a lower first, Albert (albeit at a big contract) and two second rounders for all those moves.
The trade down would mitigate the sting of giving up a second for Albert because it recovers a second-rounder for the trade down.
By the way, if the Dolphins somehow end up giving Albert more money than Long got from St. Louis, something is significantly amiss because even with his multiple injury issues, Long was still a better player than Albert when healthy.
All this has to play out.
The devil will be in the details.
needs to be part of another draft-day trade down