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NFL free agency rumor roundup: Branden Albert to the Dolphins?

Once again, the Dolphins have been linked to Branden Albert.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight offseason, rumors of Branden Albert becoming a Dolphins are surfacing.

According to Pro Football Talk, Albert is likely to sign with the Dolphins when free agency opens on Tuesday. He played the 2013 season under the franchise tag in Kansas City and had another solid season. Now, he's an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with whichever team he chooses on Tuesday.

The Dolphins have a need at offensive tackle. After Jake Long left in free agency last year, Jonathan Martin and Bryant McKinnie both saw time at left tackle in Miami. Neither was particularly effective, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the Dolphins are once again kicking the tires on Albert.

Until Tuesday, though, it's just a rumor. Just like most of the news on Sunday.

Bears interested in Michael Johnson and Michael Bennett

Chicago's defense was pretty bad in 2013. Julius Peppers may be out this offseason, and the Bears are expected to in on pass rushers both in free agency and in the draft. Reports are already out there via ESPN and the Chicago Tribune that the Bears have expressed interest in Michael Johnson and Michael Bennett, the top two pass rushers on the market this offseason. Dane Noble of Windy City Gridiron thinks Bennett should be the Bears' top target.

We can expect there to be multiple teams in play for Bennett, but considering how much Phil Emery was able to do last year during Free Agency (remember Jermon Bushrod and Martellus Bennett?), and how talented general counsel Cliff Stein is with working out the Bears salary cap situation, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Bears ended up being the team to land the top pass-rusher on the market.

Noble added:

If the Bears do not hit payday with Bennett, Johnson would be the next biggest impact guy, and Phil Emery won't walk away from this Free Agency period without getting one of these guys.

Hakeem Nicks not expected to get a long contract

According to the New York Daily News, free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is getting a bit nervous as free agency approaches. His agents have been leaking stories to ESPN, and Nicks is coming to terms with the fact that he may have to settle for a one-year deal in free agency.

Ed Valentine of Big Blue View doesn't see the Giants bringing Nicks back, but has been interested to see the saga unfold.

It was pretty clear that it wasn't working in New York in 2013, when Nicks had a second straight sub-par season. It will be interesting to see what price Nicks gets on the open market, and how the Giants proceed without him.

Packers interested in Lamarr Houston

Generally speaking, Green Bay doesn't usually get too involved in free agency. But according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers are interested in Raiders free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston. How much Green Bay is interested remains to be seen. However, Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride expects Houston's value to be on the rise after Everson Griffen signed a big contract extension with the Vikings on Sunday.

On the down side, the expected market for decent defensive ends is getting smaller and smaller and raises the value of the remaining players including Lamarr Houston who has yet to re-sign with the Raiders. Griffen also signed a pretty lucrative deal.