Through five days days of free agency, the Miami Dolphins‘ biggest move thus far has been the signing of LT Branden Albert.
The Dolphins tried acquiring the former Kansas City Chiefs player nearly a year ago during the NFL draft, but former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland and the Chiefs organization were unable to agree on a deal that would have sent Albert to South Florida. Fast forward less than a year later in 2014, and the Dolphins have finally signed the left tackle that they’ve coveted for so long.
Albert was signed to a five-year, $47 million deal by the Dolphins. At just 29 years of age and having been selected to the Pro Bowl last season, Albert joins the Dolphins while in the middle of his prime. The team’s offensive line was the worst in the NFL at protecting its quarterback in 2013. Miami’s offensive line allowed 58 sacks, making life miserable for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Though the team still has to fill holes along the offensive line when it pertains to the left guard and right tackle positions, the acquisition of Albert is a major improvement for a unit that had little cohesion and chemistry last season. Last season’s starting left tackle, Jonathan Martin, was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday in exchange for a draft selection.
Albert is an automatic upgrade over Martin, who started his NFL career at right tackle before switching over to left tackle to replace former Dolphins tackle Jake Long. According to Pro Football Focus, Albert gave up just four sacks in 555 pass blocking snaps last season. He was ranked the 11th-best tackle in the league by PFF.
The overhaul of the offensive line from last season’s unit is far from complete, but the franchise can now be assured that it has one of the best tackles in the league blocking Tannehill’s blind side for 2014 and beyond.