This morning the Dolphins seemed to cross the line of no return in committing to Tyson Clabo as their right tackle and Jonathan Martin as their left tackle by signing the former Atlanta Falcons player to a one-year deal.
The Herald's Barry Jackson was the first to have the story.
Financial figures are not yet available but Clabo was hoping to recover the $4.5 million he was scheduled to make with the Falcons in 2013 before he was cut as a cap casualty.
And now Miami's offensive tackle issues are fully addressed, right?
The fact remains that while the deal to acquire Branden Albert is at best on life support and probably will not happen, it is not fully, completely dead. Yes, the Dolphins have moved on with Martin as their LT. Yes, the Chiefs have gotten Albert to sign his franchise tender and have declared that Eric Fisher will play right tackle.
The clubs have both privately said this issue is over.
Have you heard of posturing?
Did you know that teams return to apparently dead trades all the time? Years ago the Saints and the Giants haggled for months about Jeremy Shockey and failed to consumate a deal by both teams' imposed draft deadline. The deal was dead -- until it wasn't and was completed in July.
So this may not be totally over and here's the reason:
The way it has been explained to me, the Dolphins needed to get over three obstacles to land Albert:
They needed to get him in for a physical and needed him to check out fine.
They needed to agree to compensation with the Chiefs.
They needed to agree with Albert on a new contract.
The Dolphins never got over the first hurdle. They weren't allowed.
This deal stalled dead on the tracks because the clubs couldn't agree on having Albert drive from his home in South Florida to the Dolphins medical team and get an MRI and do other tests to see the condition of his back. You'll remember the offensive tackle missed five starts last year with back issues.
Well, the Dolphins wanted to check that issue out prior to going forward with the trade. The Chiefs wouldn't allow it. They wanted the Dolphins to do the trade and a deal and have it all be contingent on the physical afterward.
That, I am told by a league source, is hurdle that tripped this deal.
So what if somebody changes their mind after the start of training camp? What if the Dolphins get on the field next July and suddenly feel queasy (a Joe Philbin word) about Martin at left tackle? Remember, Martin allowed more hurries than any tackle in the NFL in 2012, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
What if that great leap in ability most players make from their rookie year to Year No. 2 doesn't quite hit like the Dolphins hope for Martin?
On the other hand, what if the Chiefs suddenly decide that Fisher is so good and so capable -- he was, after all, the first overall selection this draft -- and start to believe putting him at left tackle will be better for his career and the team longterm?
The door might re-open from either side.
Maybe the Chiefs relent on the physical because they see Albert as healthy. Maybe the Dolphins relent on the physical because of need.
Then there is this: The Dolphins could use another left tackle. No doubt about that. Martin today is the starter. But what happens if he's injured? The fact is the Dolphins are a better team with Albert as the starting and proven left tackle and Martin and Clabo fighting on the right side for the starting job. And if Albert goes down, then Martin can swing over and start there while Clabo starts are right tackle.
As it stands now, if Martin goes down, the Dolphins don't have a starting left tackle and there's no easy solution for replacing him.
The Dolphins could still use Branden Albert.