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Branden Albert signs with Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins and Branden Albert have agreed on a new contract.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have come to terms with free agent offensive tackle Branden Albertaccording to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Albert was linked to the Dolphins very early in the free agent process, well before the team was actually allowed to contact him. Back before the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dolphins attempted to trade for the Pro Bowl left tackle, but the Kansas City Chiefs were unable to facilitate a deal when they couldn't come together on terms.

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It's a big loss for the Chiefs, who have tried hard to hold onto Albert over the past season, using the franchise tag on him in 2013. That tag paid him $9.8 million and he had as solid a starting season as expected, further boosting his value this season. This year is considered a strong year for offensive tackles and offensive linemen in general, and Albert is unquestionably the best of the best.

Miami allowed a franchise-record 58 sacks last season. Any semblance of proper quarterback play or a potentially competitive team was repeatedly snuffed out by failings from the offensive line. Right tackle Tyson Clabo is also a free agent, meaning the Dolphins had an actual hole at the tackle position and aren't just looking to upgrade.

Albert will immediately take over on the left side, where he will replace Bryant McKinnie. Of course, McKinnie was not the starter to begin the 2014 season, as the Chiefs also had Jonathan Martin. That whole fiasco with Martin and Richie Incognito was a big reason for the line's collapse, and securing Albert is the first step in establishing stability on the unit.

The Chiefs now face the reality of life without Albert, and need to decide whether second-year tackle Eric Fisher will take over the left side, or if Donald Stephenson will man the spot.