Update: After Branden Albert retired, then took it back, and then was placed on the reserve/retired list, the Jaguars said enough. They released the left tackle on Friday. He is now a free agent.
Left tackle Branden Albert unceremoniously un-retired. Yes, you can do that! Now the Jaguars have another problem on their hands.
Albert decided Monday that he would like to play again after all, and he told the Jaguars that he would return to practice. The Jaguars haven’t exactly welcomed him with open arms. They’re reportedly leaning toward not having him back at all.
Why would Albert want to come back in the first place? Maybe he just realized he’d rather be on the field instead of watching the games at home. It’s possible. Sometimes there’s a bigger tug of war between the wear and tear of the season vs. the lure of competition.
There’s also the matter of $3.4 million in bonus money Albert could personally be on the hook for — money paid out prior to his decision to retire. If he comes back to play, he won’t owe the team that money.
Why wouldn’t the Jaguars want him back? Albert skipped all of the offseason work prior to announcing his retirement last month. His contract will pay him more than $8 million this year, and it’s fair for the team to be hesitant about taking back a player who can’t make up his mind about whether he wants to play or not.
So what happens next? The Jaguars hold Albert’s rights, so the next move is up to them. They added him to the reserve/retired list on Tuesday, which means they hold his rights and owe him his $8.8 million salary this year.
Albert agreed to that move too, so it means he’s off the hook for the $3.4 million owed and may just end up staying retired.
They could still trade him, but it might be tough to find a team willing to take him and his $8.8 million salary because of the commitment issues.
The Jaguars just can’t win! WHY??? Offensive line play has so far been a disappointment for the Jaguars through camp. Albert was supposed to be the guy who helped to fix that. As hard as it would be for the Jags to take him back, it might be just as difficult to let him walk.
As Big Cat Country points out, if Jacksonville releases him and he ends up playing well somewhere else while the Jags’ OL struggles, it’ll be the Jags who take the hit for letting him walk.