The contract will become official pending a physical.
Miami pursued Albert heavily last offseason, when he was designated the franchise player of the Chiefs. The 29-year-old who spent his previous six NFL seasons with Kansas City, was probably the best tackle on the market.
Of course, Albert won't cure all that ails the offensive line, but it is a definite upgrade and the start of what will remain an ongoing offseason focus.
And the Dolphins could afford even more improvement because they have money to spend. They had $36 million remaining after re-signing cornerback Brent Grimes to a four-year, $32 million contract with $16 million guaranteed.
Grimes and defensive tackle Randy Starks might be the only significant players the Dolphins re-sign among their own free agents. Expect Incognito, right guard John Jerry, right tackle Tyson Clabo, free safety Chris Clemons and cornerback Nolan Carroll to play elsewhere next season. Carroll signed with the Eagles.
Miami signed former Detroit free safety Louis Delmas, which means three of their four starting jobs in the secondary are taken among Delmas, strong safety Reshad Jones and Grimes. The remaining cornerback spot opposite Grimes is up for grabs. The Dolphins released cornerback Dimitri Patterson on Monday and saved $5.4 million against the salary cap.
The biggest job facing the Dolphins in free agency could be signing another starting-caliber offensive lineman whether it's a right guard, left guard or right tackle.
The Dolphins needed two starting tackles and two starting guards to play alongside Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey. To accomplish that goal they need a combination of free agency and the draft. There's a good chance they try to get two starters via free agency and two starters via the draft.
Miami also wants to upgrade at linebacker. One scenario has the Dolphins signing a middle linebacker, and moving middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to strong-side linebacker, which would send linebacker Koa Misi to the bench.
The linebackers are catching lots of blame for the Dolphins ranking 24th in rushing defense.
Miami also needs an upgrade at running back, but that isn't considered a big priority in free agency.
It should be noted this is the second consecutive season the Dolphins have grabbed what could be considered the No. 1 free agent on the market. Last year the Dolphins signed former Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace to a five-year, $60 million deal.
Miami also acquired Grimes last year in free agency, and he turned into a Pro Bowl player, albeit a costly one.
The Dolphins wisely positioned themselves to have money to spend the last two years, and are hoping the resulting moves end their five-year playoff drought.
--The Dolphins re-signed defensive tackle Randy Starks, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, with a two-year, $12 million deal Wednesday.
Starks had 49 tackles and four sacks while playing all 16 games last year.
"I've been a part of this organization for six years and I think I'm established here," said Starks, who has started 81 of the 96 games he has played for the Dolphins. "I'm just happy to be back and this was my first choice and that's why I didn't take any visits. I had options out there but this is where I want to be. I want to finish my career here and I think this two-year deal gives me a chance to do that."
Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was optimistic earlier in the day that a deal was going to get done with Starks.
"We couldn't be happier to have him return to the Miami Dolphins," Hickey said. "He's a quality football player, a quality person and I know he's been very active in the community. He's what we always talk about, a good teammate, a good person in the community and an excellent football player.
"Today shows a lot about our commitment up front and how important that is and Randy Starks is a two-time Pro Bowler, a versatile defensive lineman that can play the run, that can rush the passer and that can do a lot of things."
--Cornerback is a bit of concern considering the Dolphins cut Dimitri Patterson (saving $5.4 million) and Nolan Carroll left as a free agent. The Dolphins drafted CBs Jamar Taylor (second round) and Will Davis (third round) last year so cutting Patterson (four interceptions in six games) might be an indication they think one of the rookies might come through next season. Carroll isn't expected to return.
--Miami's offense is quietly in the middle of a major reconstruction. There's a new offensive coordinator (Bill Lazor), a new OL coach (Jack Bicknell, Jr.), as many as four new starting linemen, and the search continues to upgrade at running back. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said the offense will be different under Lazor but isn't quite sure on specifics because he hasn't had a chance to work closely with Lazor yet due to NFL rules.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--TACKLE: The Dolphins signed LT Branden Albert but they'll still need three additional starters through free agency and the draft. But solidifying the position vacated by Jake Long and Jonathan Martin in the last two seasons was the No. 1 priority.
--GUARD: LG Richie Incognito and RG John Jerry are both free agents, and both were implicated in the Wells Report and bullying scandal. Perhaps veteran Nate Garner, second-year player Sam Brenner or third-round pick Dallas Thomas can become a starter, but that won't be the plan entering OTAs.
--FREE SAFETY: Miami signed Louis Delmas, formerly of the Detroit Lions. He'll replace Chris Clemons, who is a free agent. This should be an upgrade but Delmas isn't a surefire difference-maker because of his injury history.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--CB R.J. Stanford (not tendered as RFA) ended the season on the injured reserve list after sustaining a broken leg late in the season. He's a core special teams player but his return is iffy.
--G Danny Watkins (not tendered as RFA) never broke into the rotation after being signed at mid-season when the team badly needed help. That's not good. He'll have to fight to return.
--OT Will Yeatman (not tendered as RFA) sustained a season-ending knee injury during practice midway through the season. If he's healthy the Dolphins would like to have him back.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--FS Chris Clemons was OK last season, and that's the problem. The Dolphins need someone who is good. They think they got that player in FS Louis Delmas, the former Detroit Lions starter.
--LG Richie Incognito won't be back. Owner Steve Ross said as much. Not much more needs to be said.
--RG John Jerry was named as a main instigator in the Wells Report. He won't return.
--TE Dustin Keller sustained a horrifying knee injury in preseason, tearing multiple ligaments. He signed a one-year contract last year. He might return for a minimum-salary deal.
--LT Bryant McKinnie was signed mid-season and seemed to help, but not enough. That's why the Dolphins signed LT Branden Albert from Kansas City. There's an outside chance McKinnie stays as the right tackle but it's doubtful.
--WR Marlon Moore was acquired midway through the season and didn't make much of a contribution from scrimmage. He was a core special teams player and that might be his best hope to return.
--CB Chris Owens didn't make much of a contribution. If he can carve out a spot on special teams he could return.
--LB Austin Spitler was a core special teams player and will probably return. Spitler hasn't had much opportunity from scrimmage.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
--CB Brent Grimes: Potential UFA; $32.025M/4 yrs, $6M SB/$16.95M guaranteed.
--DT Randy Starks: UFA; $12M/2 yrs.
--T Branden Albert: UFA Chiefs; $46M/5 yrs, $8.5M SB/$25M guaranteed.
--S Louis Delmas: FA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Earl Mitchell: UFA Texans; $16M/4 yrs, $9M guaranteed.
--CB Nolan Carroll: UFA Eagles; $5.2M/2 yrs.
--CB Dimitri Patterson (released).
--T Jonathan Martin (traded 49ers).
--DT Paul Soliai: UFA Falcons; $33M/5 yrs, $14M guaranteed.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Randy Starks
- Chris Clemons
- Richie Incognito
- Jonathan Martin
- Branden Albert