BREAKING: Per Armando Salguero, the Dolphins will acquire Julius Thomas from the Jaguars for a late round 2017 NFL Draft pick.
Miami Dolphins veteran left tackle Branden Albert was supposed to be released from the team Thursday, along with teammates Mario Williams, Earl Mitchell, and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – in a move that was designed to clear cap space from overpaid players who have mostly been unproductive. .
However, due to what seems to be a last-minute interest from an opposing NFL team/teams, the Dolphins decided to retain Albert, changing what could have been an estimated $50 million in cap room to $42.8 million.
The Thursday mystery team has now been unmasked and revealed to be the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Miami Herald writer Armando Salguero stated the Jags would prefer to give up a conditional pick in 2018 for Branden Albert, but the Dolphins want a selection they could use in the upcoming 2017 draft. Another option would be to swap unwanted contracts of particular players – which both teams have. For the Jaguars, it’s tight end Julius Thomas.The Jaguars signed Thomas to a 5-year, $46 million contract in 2015. But Thomas has dealt with injuries over the past two seasons, and his production has not lived up to the money he merits. Thomas also has a connection to Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase, whom he played for during his days in Denver. Although the Jags have guaranteed $3 million of the tight end’s base salary for this year, a player-for-player trade could still be in the mix.
Both players have dealt with their share of injuries the past couple seasons and would be making similar chunks of money in 2017, contributing to sizable cap hits for their current teams. According to Spotrac.com, Branden Albert will count as $10.6 M against the cap for the Fins, and Julius Thomas will count as $8.3 M against the cap for the Jags.
But a 28-year old Thomas in the middle of his career for a 32-year old Albert in the twilight of his career does not seem like a fair trade. Plus, according to ThePhinsider.com, Adam Gase wants Dion Sims back as his top tight end, which makes this writer think there could be another 32-year old in play—veteran middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.
Posluszny has been very productive for the Jaguars, and is in the final year of his contract with the Jaguars, and the Dolphins have a desperate need for linebackers. Reports circled in December about the Fins coaching staff wanting to move LB Kiko Alonso to the outside. If that’s true, perhaps Posluszny can fill the middle position on the short-term while the Dolphins find some young LBs in the draft.