Well, that didn’t take long. A week after abruptly retiring after the Jaguars first full padded practice of training camp, tackle Branden Albert apparently wants to unretire and rejoin the team. But, the catch is: the Jaguars may not want him back.
We have well chronicled that the former Pro Bowler did not participate in Jaguars OTAs and that he was disgruntled with being traded to Jacksonville in March for a late round pick, instead of being outright released by the Dolphins. Had Miami done that, he would have been free to pick his own team/situation. This created the issues from beginning of Albert’s start in Jacksonville.
Another motivation as to why Albert is apparently having second thoughts and is now discussing a comeback is that he owes the Jaguars $3.4 million in a roster bonus that, ironically the Dolphins paid him when they gave him his current deal. Jacksonville is entitled to that refund for inheriting Alberts full contract in the trade.
For their part, the Jags are practicing early this week in Foxboro with the Patriots before they play New England in the preseason opener Thursday night, and they may have already moved on from Albert to prepare for the season.
Jacksonville did draft Alabama’s Cam Robinson in the second round in April’s draft and would love to have him ready to go at left tackle when the regular season begins. For what it’s worth the Jaguars have Robinson and veteran Josh Wells listed as “co-starters” at left tackle on a depth chart released this weekend. Both have been working with the first team since Albert’s “retirement.”
We await the team (re: Tom Coughlin) to make some kind of statement on Albert’s status and to clarify if he wold be welcomed back after they return from New England or if they consider him “retired.”
It’s also not clear if Albert actually followed through already with signing retirement papers with the league and made his decision official. That’s not likely.
Another scenario is Albert uses the leverage that he didn’t actually retire, hasn’t been released by the team and attempts to show for work to force their hand.
If the Jaguars do release him, they will still be on the hook for his contract that they took on in the March trade.
One final scenario is that the Jaguars entertain trading Albert to another team for a draft pick.
This will get more interesting later on Tuesday for sure.