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Draft week: Will Ireland panic on Branden Albert?

Jeff Ireland has generally not been one to panic throughout his tenure as the Dolphins general manager.

Once he realized that Chad Henne was not the answer as Miami's franchise quarterback, he didn't panic and pick Ryan Mallett in the 2011 draft. He didn't panic and make the deal for Kyle Orton later that summer. He didn't panic earlier this offseason and give cornerback Brent Grimes or tight end Dustin Keller multi-year deals. He didn't panic and fill an offensive line need by immediately committing to Eric Winston -- either last year or this year.

Indeed, the only Ireland move I can really think would even come close to being a panic move was the trade up for running back Daniel Thomas in the second round of the 2011 draft. The Dolphins desperately needed running back help after moving on from Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and apparently feared losing out on Thomas so the move was made.

Despite that one apparent indiscretion, Ireland has been a fairly cool customer when it comes to acquiring players. (No, he doesn't always get the right one. No one does. But he doesn't get flustered about going after anyone, either). He certainly played it cool with left tackle Jake Long and that is one reason I've confirmed Long went to the St. Louis Rams.

Seems Long didn't think the Dolphins showed him enough love or respect, probably by the structure of their offers to him, to return to Miami.

And that brings us to the Branden Albert situation.

Albert is the Kansas City Chiefs left tackle who is on the trade block. And the Dolphins have shown considerable interest. But the interest has not been to the point where the Dolphins had offered the Chiefs a trade proposal as of this writing. The interest had not been to the point where the Dolphins had worked out a contract with Albert's agent as of this writing.

Ireland had so far played it cool. 

As of Sunday afternoon, this was still in the pending file.

But as this is officially the dawn of draft week, and all three parties -- the Chiefs, the Dolphins and the Albert camp -- would like a resolution to the issue that involves them all, the pressure on Ireland is about to mount exponentially. And pressure often causes folks to panic.

Because the draft is less than four days away, the Albert camp wants the Dolphins to get a deal done. The Chiefs want to bring this to some sort of conclusion because they'd like to know if Albert is going to be on their roster or if they're going to have an extra draft choice -- a fairly high one apparently -- for Albert.

And there is a certain amount of pressure on the Dolphins to figure out both draft compensation and a contract for Albert if that's the direction they're going to go. And if that's not the direction they're going to go, the Dolphins need to figure out how else they'll solve their left tackle vacancy that apparently they're not thrilled with Jonathan Martin filling.

So, yes, there is pressure. And this is about the time someone might panic.

Will it be Ireland?

He's the most likely choice of the three parties involved.

Albert's camp doesn't have to panic. They've got a signed franchise tag they're holding which guarantees the player $9.8 million in 2013. Yes, they want a multi-year deal. But are they going to cave to get that done?

Absolutely not. Indeed, the Albert camp believes it is working from a position of strength. They have a guaranteed one-year deal. They have a player that can hit the free agent market next year and get major bucks because it's unlikely the Chiefs would franchise him again at 120 percent of this year's cap value. They also have a suitor on the line for a multi-year deal. So there is not real timing pressure on them.

And that's why I'm told Albert wants to get paid. He wants a contract that is better than the four-year, $34 million deal with $16 million guaranteed the Rams gave Jake Long.

Yes, Branden Albert expects to get a better deal from the Dolphins than Jake Long ultimately believed the Dolphins were offering him. Now, one can play with the numbers. It's possible the Dolphins' offer to Long might have been higher than the Rams' but was structured in such a way as to make it easy to get rid of him after one year if he was injured again.

But on the face, Albert wants to do better than the deal Long thought was the best one on the table.

And they're not under undo pressure.

The Chiefs are playing it coy, too. They've not giving Miami permission to speak with Albert personally or give him a physical until they have a signficant trade offer on the table. And as of this writing, that was not yet the case.

They can argue they'll draft as planned and simply keep Albert and there will be opportunities to trade him later. Of course, we know this is posturing. The Chiefs want the draft pick compensation for Albert by Friday the latest. And if they don't get it by then, they're losing the maximum benefit of trading him. But I'm simply telling you what they might be pitching as a stance.

Ireland and the Dolphins?

They seem more desperate. They don't have a left tackle. The veil of using Martin as the answer has been removed. That's not what the team wants. That would only be the last resort move.

They aren't going to ransom their entire draft to trade up for Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher as those two left tackles might go No. 1 and No. 2 when the draft begins Thursday. They're not in love with Lane Johnson enough to mortgage a signficant part of their draft to trade up for him. (Maybe if he drops to them, they go with him. But trade up for him? Not in the plans as of today).

So what's left? Pick the fourth-best left tackle and hope?

It's a time for lesser men to panic because there are not wonderful options.

But this is my advice to Jeff Ireland:

Do you. Be yourself. Do not panic.

Paying Branden Albert -- a good but not great left tackle -- like he's an elite left tackle is not a palatable move to begin with. And paying a 2013 second- or third-round pick to Kansas City for the privilege makes it less appealing.

So hold fast.

Offer a 2014 second-rounder instead of 2013.

If it must be a 2013 pick, make absolutely sure that it's the second of Miami's two second-rounders (Nos. 42 and 54) and make sure that a trade down from No. 12 in the first round is available so you can regain that extra pick to mitigate the sting of trading for Albert.

(That likely means waiting until Thursday because very few teams will be willing to make a pre-draft trade for the No. 12 overall selection before then). 

If the Chiefs don't want to budge, call their bluff. Seriously. What are they going to do after picking Joeckel? They have to trade Albert. So wait them out.

If Thursday comes an goes and Friday comes and goes, Braden Albert will still be on the trade block. And then the pressure on K.C. will indeed mount. They're not going to waive the guy. Make the trade for a '14 pick. Give them that second-rounder, tell them they beat you up, shake their hand and call it a day -- all the while knowing they didn't win because they didn't take your current picks.

Remember Jimmy Johnson's old axiom: A second-rounder next year is like giving up a third-rounder this year because experience and maturity will likely cause the third-rounder to produce faster and more. So giving up a second next year for Albert is more of a bargain for Miami.

That strategy would give the team Albert this year, plus its full complement of draft picks this year. And that 2014 pick you trade away might be a lower selection anyway if your moves this year pay the kind of dividends you expect and you're in the playoffs.

Does waiting out K.C. come with risk?

Of course it does. Maybe another team jumps into the picture. Maybe the Chiefs rethink their strategy and keep Albert.

But those risks seem marginal. Albert's been on the market for a while and no one else has stepped up. And Albert has made it known to the Chiefs he's dead set against playing right tackle so he's causing them some pressure on that front.

Look, this deal could be done by Monday night or Tuesday if Jeff Ireland panics. Yes, he'd immediately have the solution to his left tackle issue. But the move would seem unthoughtful in the wake of losing Jake Long because the cost would be higher on multiple fronts (trade compensation as well as big contract compensation to the player).

Or ...

Ireland could strap his belt a notch tighter and hold his breath. He could wait out the Chiefs and the chances he'd get Albert could diminish. There's uncertainty there admittedly.

But sometimes testing that uncertainty is better than being the guy that panics.

Comments

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It all comes down to how much money and years Albert will be seeking. Ireland has a fallback plan. Starting Martin at LT and signing Winston at LT.

Look at the Ravens LT situation. They won a sb with an unsettled LT situation. They're potentially starting a 2nd year snotty nosed kid at LT in 2013.

Based on this, dolfans and its media could be blowing our OT situation way........ out of proportion.

GREAT analysis. The Chiefs are the ones operating from the weakest position here. We have the ammunition to move up and get a tackle if we want, and we have the luxury of seeing how the draft unfolds. When the Chiefs are on the clock, they only have minutes to see if picking an LT overall #1 is what they want to do. The minute they do that, Albert is worth less to them - especially since he's said he doesn't want to play RT. Even if they pick Joekel, we may only need to leapfrog SD to get Johnson, if we want to go LT in the draft.

YG,

Everything we have been reading is blown way out of proportion! Armando epitomizes this "make sure that a trade down from #12 is available so you can regain the extra pick"

So now we NEED two 2nd rd picks? Why is it so imperative to have two 2nd rd picks this year? Do people really believe every piece a team needs can be taken in 1 draft? No team can do this!
If we get Albert, fine. If not, it's not a thrown season. You can win without an elite LT. It's been done many times. We have 11 picks, 5 in the top 82. I'd call that a position of strength in today's NFL.

Great Post.

This Is Why You Are The Best Mando.

The chiefs have the most to lose, they are very likely going Joeckel. I say don't trade for Albert at all. Are you kidding me, he wants more than Jake Long? Let the tepid tackle get his due this year, and then next year get what he has coming via his skillset. Maybe 5 or 6 million or right in the middle as his skill suggest. Even a second round is too much for him he is absolutely middle road, with likely no upside.

We don't need this guy he is a luxury. We can find backups other places or even in the second round. There are good options there. This guy is as lukewarm as they get. Why would we pay his franchise tag and bow down to his overhyped price. Leave him be.

Winston is available instead for 3-4M a season ---- 50% less than Albert's price and KEEP all your draft picks. Not sure why this substantially more sound strategy is not working. Makes too much sense.

Cowboys rumored to be signing Winston this week because Ireland would not pull the trigger. And once again, his incompetence comes through.

BTW, what makes Mando so sure that Philbin wouldn't be happy with Martin at LT? Is it because Ireland said he would leave it to the coaches but he felt Martin could play either LT or RT?

Did Armando really expect an honest, straight forward answer during draft season? Many things can be read from what Ireland and Philbin have said. You could also interpret that to mean we are happy enough with Martin that we won't reach for a replacement at LT.

Exactly ! Jeff Ireland needs to stay patient, because Miami still has fall back options of Eric Winston (for RT) & the OT's in the draft. Oh & by the way Miami would like a guaranteed sturdy LT, but they are still confident that Jonathan Martin will be good this year at either OT position. Miami does not need to trade up or over pay Brandon Albert to put a good OL together this offseason. SO JUST STAY PATIENT IRELAND !!!!!!

I agree with Mando, Brendan Albert is not coming to Miami unless we pay him bigger money than Long. Which is proof of failure by itself. We could have tagged Jake in the first place to keep all our draft picks intact ($9.8 millions, not far AT ALL from what this Albert guy is expecting in a multi-year deal...).

Now Ireland needs to keep his sh** together until the chefs finally make their pick.

Or we can just throw the whole idea to the trash-can (where it belongs) and put our trust in J. Martin at least for a year. This would be my #1 choice. Because it looks like the Dolphins need the whole universe to conspire in their favor so this Branden thing doesn't blow up in their faces the next morning.

If it happens at all.

Just Draft a OT in the second round. We got Martin in the second round and he turned out fine.

Jake Long and Brandon Albert have something in common. Neither have been part of a winning team in quite some time. I don't get the fascination! Plenty of teams are doing just fine without pouring out huge deals for LT. If we get Albert at a decent price, great. If not, we can draft a LT/RT or get Smith or Winston in FA.

We shouldn't dismiss talent we have on our roster at RT. John Jerry could settle in nicely there. Also, Yeatman was an oversized TE who projects as an athletic Tackle. Much like Lane Johnson or Nate Solder a couple of years ago.

Stay put and wait for the draft, make our 5 picks, only trade down if we get 2 #1s or 49rs 1 andearly 2.

Alec Ogletree will be the best player in the draft.

Sign Winston for 3 years & draft a LT with one of your 2nd rounders. Is there much ofa dropoff between Albert & Winston?

Has a team EVER made a pre-draft trade to move up to the #12 pick? That seems ludicrous. You don't know who's going to be available. No one's going to trade up to 12 pre-draft.

Giving up a 2nd for Albert is fine as long as you pay him less than Jake Long money. This draft is supposed to be deep at tackle. It's not just 3 guys. If Albert won't take a reasonable price, then draft one. If not #12, then in the 2nd round. I believe the Cheatrtios drafted both of their tackles in the 2nd round. You don't need a pro-bowler at LT. You just need someone who can do the job.

KC is under no pressure to trade Albert. If that was true, why wouldn't they be allowing Albert to visit? Such a visit would help a contract get done.

All they've done is let Ireland talk to his agent, which helps KC because it shows Albert that other teams don't want to pay him like an elite left tackle either. KC is just using Ireland to bring Albert's price down.

But if he doesn't lower it, they still don't have to trade him. They can play him at LT next season, play the rookie they draft at RT, and when Albert leaves in free agency they'll get a 3rd round compensatory pick.

100% of the pressure is on Ireland here.

Jeff won't be held hostage he won't panic no way we play this thing out till the very end if he doesn't cave Albert will remain a chief

We have options at tackle we will be fine

Surprise, Surprise. I disagree with Mando again. I am the total opposite of your writing. The pressure is first on KC. Then Albert. Then the Fins.

KC wants to move him along because this new staff has no ties to Albert, want a pick and do not want an angry player in the locker room with the tage.

Albert is NOT in a position of strength. Yes, he gets paid well this year, but has nothing beyond that. He has had some back issues and will be near that dreaded age of 30 next year where no one gets great money outside of QB's. He has to strike now.

The Fins can still do this deal, trade up for an OT for similar compensation or sign a RT and put Martin at LT.

Bad insight on this one.

trade down, take eifert 1st round and the 4th lt in the 2nd rd.
if we need a top lt,trade up and take fisher.
we don't need albert.

If signing a right tackle like clabo or Winston and moving Martin to left were the plan (while holding all our picks) were the plan, it would have been done by now. Obviously, that option in the most appealing since we get our tackle, have all options open in the draft and don't give up a pick. Ireland must believe Martin is suited for right tackle or trading a 2 for a pricey left tackle wouldn't make any sense since a guy like fluker could be drafted at 12, is a monster and a fraction of the price. If we have to have a left tackle that can jump on and start right away, which likely can't be found after the top 3 (which is way too pricey to move up a deep draft)....giving up a 2 and getting a starting left tackle makes a lot of sense.

Drafting in the second round, as we have seen in the past, is no guarantee. That said, think Albert is worth our 3rd round pick. Personally would like to hold all our picks and see what lands in our lap.....don't panick!

moisture

Most of these post are acting as if Ireland is flying by the seat of his pants? Ireland has been working a plan for the last 3 years and is way ahead of everyone else. He gets a bad rap because of his first couple years he was a puppet for Parcells,(That's not a knock on him, he was hired by Bill and he did what Bill wanted, But once he was gone, Ireland sold Ross his plan and he is finishing his work.) I don't agree with everything Ireland has done, but he has been pretty solid the last 3 years,not taking Orton, Flynn, Taking Tannehill, Hiring Philbin, 11 picks this year, over 40 million in cap space this year, we are not over mortgaged, I can make a lot more arguments but he knows what he is doing. He wont over pay for Albert, I like Winston, but he is average, we have the fire power for elite, why not use it? All of this is probably a smokescreen because he does believe in Martin and he is going in a completely different direction. Whatever it is, he has a PLAN!

there's no pressure, just give oakland next years #1, #42, and richie incognito and davon bess for #3 and take fisher.

well worth it in the long haul. we have our QB now with a much fuller deck.

stop acting like we have all these holes. we have one, LT.

Ireland should draft a left tackle with the second round pick and let the chiefs be stuck with two tackles. Miami should not trade for albert, period. That would be the best long term move for the team.

gman????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? what.........# 2 is not worth all of that, let alone a pro bowler and one of the leagues best slots, and 2 picks?????????????????????????????????????I want what you are taking... lol!

I will continue to argue that a 29 year old starting left tackle with Albert's EXPERIENCE is well worth the lower 2nd round pick. Many people, including Mando, argued Jake was declining in ability and not worth the money. I agreed.

Now they are trying to say that Albert is worth less than Jake. Really? Why? I'd say that when you compare OT's across the league they are pretty close in the overall ranking. I'd put them between 7 and 10. I'd actually pay Albert more because he has shown less physical break down.

If the Fin's pay him a solid signing bonus an provide an avg of $7.5m per year I'd be very content that they made a fair offer. IF Albert refuses and wants to deal with the drama all year with the Chiefs and Joekel than good luck.

BTW....I'd give the 2nd pick this year. Not next year. This is the year we have the extra picks. Don't hurt your team's by giving the only 2nd round pick away next year.

Finally, if they don't sign Albert there is no need for panic. I still think the Fins can manage with their current players and possible additions without trading up and giving away too many picks. Martin, Jerry, Garner, and a second round tackle will serve us OK for one year. Maybe even a veteran who sees their position change post draft. I am OK letting it ride for one year as a fall back.

all what our g m do is smoke screen we going to draft
with our first c b or de every one thing l t that's
what good g m do and i love it maybe t e 3 days yay cant wait

Jeff is too smart to get played in this situation. He is allowed to kick the tires to see what he wants.

Mando..your takes all sound familiar. Most of which I posted yesterday. Just remember Mr. Ireland it's never too late to pull out of the Albert trade. Let the Chiefs pay his "Franchise" salary and pay the guy LT money to play RT. This is their mess not ours and honestly why give up a second at all for the guy if no one else is bidding??? Let the deal fall apart and go on to the next plan.

I've been saying it since day 1...Trading for Albert makes no sense...Sign McKinnie, he'll be a lot less expensive...And draft Tyler Eifert for God Sake...

The pressure is clearly on the fins but I don't agree that signing Albert for more money than long and giving up the 2nd of our second round picks is caving. Albert is a better tackle than long with less of an injury history. Albert is rated as the 7th best pass efficient blocker in the nfl for the past 2 years by pff and he is 28. The tackle situation is as bad as our receiver situation was last year and yet no one including Armando is out there beating the drum for Ireland to address it. Moving Martin to left tac kle and using either Jerry, Winston or a draft pick (other than 1 of the top 2tackles) is a recipe for disaster. Martin was marginal at best last year and it is a leap of faith to think he is going to be better than avg this year and if Martin or whatever plug in we put at right tackle gets injured there is no depth at the position. To me it is better to get a known quantity in Albert to protect tannehill and cash in on all of the money we have spent adding offensive weapons for tannehill. It is a huge risk trying to go cheap at this point to address our most obvious need at tackle.

Jpao,

That was the immediate thing about Mando's blog that struck me as dead wrong- dont give up a 2014 pick- unless its a 7th rounder! We have the extra picks this year and could use them as ammunition.

If I was Ireland, I would be on the phone with Winston or Clabo for RT or if Martin is the RT- then I would be on the phone with Mckinnie or Gaither for LT. Im the only guy that mentions Gaither in any of these blogs- hes 27 and was a force with Balt but signed for big money with SD and never meshed. Hes hungry and will want to prove himself so sign him for 1-2 years and draft a LT. Or draft a RT prospect if MArtin is your guy and bring in Winston or Clabo. Bringing in Winston, Clabo, Mckinnie, or Gaither is not an "average" move. It would instantly solidify the line.

McKinnie was the best LT in the playoffs...Wants to play in Miami...He's available without giving up a draft pick...Why are we wasting our time talking about Albert?

Use a 2nd rounder on LT Menelik Watson. Like Martin he can play both sides and physically he may be the most gifted tackle in the draft. Let Watson and Martin's play then decide who plays right and left.

do you think it well be posibbelities of player number ONE and TWO of the draft? this I believe yes can happen also of the wode recever positon


I still say trade up and take one of the newer elite models over the used one that you'll have to sink money into. Anyone of the top 3 tackles on the board be playing long after Albert's best days, which may be behind him already. I'll put my money(pick) down on the new car, over the used one that needs his fluids and tires changed. Sure he my be broken in already but we have back ups that started last year that can fill in if our pick doesn't start right away.

The Dolphins and their GM have a plan and there are many contingency directions they can go to get a LT. Albert is not good enough to be given elite tackle pay. Jake Long got insulted and would rather play in obscure St. Louis than play for a winning team. Win the Super Bowl then get more individual guaranteed money, like some of the Baltimore Ravens did.

I see a big smokescreen. Surely, the FO knew what Alberts contract demands would be for a deal. AND If you are willing to give up a 2nd for Albert then you certainly should be willing to give up that same 2nd for one of the elite tackles at the top of the draft and pay the guy substantially less.

Didn't espn report that Watson look terrible at his pro day? Looked sluggish in drills and may have dropped his stock.

Looked

GUYS,

ALL JEFF IS DOING IS SEEING WHAT THIS GUY IS LOOKING FOR!! NOW WE KNOW!! WAY TOO MUCH!!! NO TNANKS!!

NEXT!!!

Ireland please don't trade up and please don't trade for Brandon Albert. Keep your picks and draft the best player at #12. If you miss out on an OT sign Winston for a 1 year deal and find the OT next year in FA. The Pats have made 20 more draft picks then Miami since 2000. Stockpiling picks, that is how you build a franchise.

I have to agree with a lot of other posts here. We should not give up any of our top five picks for Albert when the draft can get us the talent we need without giving up any big money contract. This may all be a huge smoke screen by Ireland and company leading up to the draft. We will soon see.

Mando,

Great call on the "great" ozzie newsome and his great pick up in Rolondo mcclain

curious to see how the Wets use their two first rounders in top 13 picks. they could disrupt the eifert play for the fins.

I just don't get it. If you are the Chiefs...Why do you cast off your franchised starting LT (ranked 7th in the league by PFF)?..and before that they cut Winston. They have put themselves in a position to have to rebuild their O-line and use the 1st pick in the draft on an OT. For what? How has this made their team better? So Glad not to be a Chiefs fan.

You gotsta be sh*ittin me. Stay away from Albert. Way too much money. Draft someone and get Winston. That won't cost a pick.

Ireland was looking to replace incognito with Albert. That's why they can't agree on compensation. Albert wants tackle money and Ireland offered guard money. If this does not get done, look for Ireland to draft Jonathan cooper. Martin will be our left tackle this year.

I agree with the tone of the article,but to trade up to get a younger O-lineman with more upside, and a smaller initial contract wont be easy, and will probably require Ireland to cave in to the demands of the team he want to make the deal with.
I think he should stay the course, and start drafting direct impact players and try to build an offensive line that is considered less skilled individually, but will stay together on the team for years and will be much more talented as a group,which to me is what the o-line is, a unit.
All the players in the NFL with the help of their agents have the attitude of what about me eventhough they dont score tochdowns or create turnovers.

Jeff, I know you read this blog. Do not offer anything more than the 82nd pick for Albert. The Chiefs are over a barrel and you need to approach the Albert situation as if you have nothing to lose if you walk away.

Why dont we just sign Andre Smith from Cincy? Wasnt he ranked higher than Long and Alberts last year? He is 6"4 340 lbs, I know he is a little bigger, but he can block , and you wont need to trade a pick

I am not convinced that Miami is convinced that Martin is not a starting LT. Perhaps he is, perhaps not. The uncertainty is why Miami is looking at Albert. It is also a reason not to panic. Martin was starting LT in college so there is no reason to believe he cannot be in NFL. But getting a proven LT would remove doubt. Just no reason to panic.

Andy Reid is from the same coaching tree as the Miami staff, which means they run a similar offense. If KC doesn't think Albert is worth the price or they don't think he fits the offense, why would Miami be interested in trading for him? It looks like Ireland is playing some nasty poker this year and keeping everyone in the dark on what he's really thinking. At worst Miami has options presently on the team to fill the left tackle spot. Martin played LT pretty well but was average at RT, why move Martin back to RT? If Martin is the future at LT then Miami is looking to fill RT and that is a completely different scenario and won't require a trade especially since Albert already said he doesn't want to play RT.

It all reeks of a smokescreen!

KC is the one that should be panicking by now. They have a disgruntled LT that won't play RT 3 days removed from the Draft. Do they draft Joeckel? Go another way? Fukkk'em.

Jonathan Martin is the LT. He should remain the LT. The Dolphins desperately need an RT and a RG.

"They've not giving Miami permission to speak with Albert personally or give him a physical until they have a signficant trade offer on the table."

Who does KC think they are? North Korea? That's how they're "negotiating." You don't make an offer until you know what you're buying. If KC sticks to that position, Ireland should wish them and Albert well.

the Fins are in the drivers seat.. they have the picks.. and they're are vet FAs out there.
why ram on someone else's headache. he's looking for a payday. why should Miami pay him?? I understand one can argue him and Long fit dif blocking schemes, but if I were the GM, I'd put the pressure on them and actually look at other places to fill the LT position

Oscar, today is the day. I look forward to our shared adventure and the beautiful and aromatic memories we will create.

Obviously they should've paid Jake Long. Ireland never makes the right decisions.

If Jonathan Martin is our LT I feel sorry for Tannehill. He got shut out when turnstyle Martin played LT last year.

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