The Miami Dolphins have ironed out their differences with offensive tackle Branden Albert on a possible long-term contract and continue to talk to the Kansas City Chiefs about a possible trade. But that doesn't mean they will ultimately make a deal for him before the NFL draft starts Thursday night.
Or at all.
The Dolphins remain distantly hopeful that they can somehow get offensive tackle Lane Johnson of Oklahoma in the draft, but that hope seems to be fading. That's why the Dolphins, who have the No. 12 overall selection, picked up the pace on talks with Kansas City on Wednesday, a source said.
Chiefs general manager John Dorsey told NFL Network on Wednesday that he was in talks with the Dolphins on a trade. Dorsey said the issue of compensation was the obvious sticking point. The Chiefs would like a high second-round pick for Albert. The Dolphins hold two second-rounders (No. 42 and 54 overall), but are hoping to leverage the Chiefs by forcing their hand.
The logic, as the Dolphins see it, is that if Kansas City ends up taking a left tackle prospect such as Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick, that will drive down the price for Albert. Albert, who says he doesn't intend to switch to right tackle, has already signed the one-year tender of $9.8 million he was given when the Chiefs franchised him in March.
Albert would still like a long-term deal, but the Chiefs will be hesitant to do that, particularly if they take an offensive tackle at No. 1. That means the Chiefs could pay a premium price for one year of Albert and then get little or nothing in return when he leaves as a free agent after the 2013 season.
"The Chiefs are in a bad spot, although [the Dolphins] aren't much better off," a source said. "It's kind of a stare down between [Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland] and Dorsey right now, but neither of them can really afford to say no to at least some kind of deal."
The exception to that would be if Johnson somehow drifted past the No. 5 overall pick. Aside from Kansas City, the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 2) are expected to take an offensive tackle and the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 4) and Detroit Lions (No. 5) are seriously considering it. In addition, the Arizona Cardinals are in need of a left tackle.
In fact, there was speculation Tuesday that Arizona would get in on the Albert trade talks, but that appears to be more rumor than reality.
"Kansas City is in a bad position here, unless they're willing to take [Oregon pass rusher] Dion Jordan. I don't see that," an NFC team executive said. "All the signals are that they're going with Joeckel, maybe Fisher. If that's the case, they have to dump Albert and the question is whether it's a fire sale."
If the Dolphins are unable to land Albert or Johnson, one consideration could be drafting D.J. Fluker to play right tackle and playing Jonathan Martin on the left side.
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