INDIANAPOLIS–The Dolphins are grateful for what they got out of left tackle Branden Albert, but couldn’t wait any longer to move second-year player Laremy Tunsil into his spot.
Miami has a deal in place to send Albert to the Jaguars next week and will shift Tunsil from left guard to tackle. The move will save the team about $7 million in salary cap space, and Tunsil was drafted No. 13 overall last year with the vision of him being the long-term starter at left tackle.
“B.A. did a great job for us while he was here,” general manager Chris Grier said this morning. “He was a true pro. He did a great job mentoring Laremy last year at guard. But for us, we just felt it was time to let Laremy go to left tackle. He’s played that his whole life. I know Laremy was very excited for the move to left tackle, and we think he’ll be a very good player there.”
Tunsil started 12 games, plus a playoff appearance, at left guard and was ranked 41st among guards by Pro Football Focus. He started twice in Albert’s spot when he was out.
Not only was Albert a steadying presence at left tackle, making the Pro Bowl in 2015, he accepted the role of tutoring Tunsil from the moment the team drafted him. As Grier mentioned, no one in the locker room made more of an effort to help Tunsil develop than Albert.
The Dolphins made the decision to let Albert go shortly after the season ended. They weighed the idea of keeping Albert and Tunsil in the same spots for another year, but couldn’t justify it.
“There was a lot of discussion about that,” coach Adam Gase said. “We just felt at the end of the day, it was going to be hard for us, especially financially.”
Miami originally intended to cut Albert, but received interest when word leaked that that move was coming. The team has a pair of deals lined up with Jacksonville that will send out Albert and this year’s seventh-round pick and bring in tight end Julius Thomas and a seventh-round selection in the 2018 draft.
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