The Branden Albert trade saga started to turn into a he said, she said soap opera on Thursday. But by nighttime things had calmed down.
A day after the Sun-Sentinel reported the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs had begun serious talks about trading the veteran left tackle for a second-round pick, Chiefs coach Andy Reid told local reporters the Dolphins didn't have permission to talk to Albert's camp, which would prevent Miami from hammer out terms on a new contract.
However, during a Thursday night interview with ESPN, Reid admitted he "misspoke," and acknowledged that Albert's agent does have permission to negotiate with Dolphins executives on Albert's behalf.
"We haven't talked for days," Reid said, referring to dialog between Kansas City and the Dolphins. "That's a dead issue."
Reid seemed bothed by Albert not reporting to Kansas City's minicamp this week, but admitted he understand the "business side" of the NFL.
The Chiefs are apparently leaning towards selecting Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher with the No. 1 pick, and putting either at left tackle. Albert is adamant about remaining a left tackle and his camp is seeking a multi-year deal.
Albert, who is rated by ProFootballFocus.com as the NFL's 25th best offensive tackle last season, must pass a physical before the Dolphins enter serious negotiations on a contract extension.
Those terms (length, guaranteed money and average salary) will likely determine if the Dolphins will send Kansas City one of its two second-round picks in next week's draft to finalize the deal for the former Virginia standout.
Albert lives in Miami during the offseason, and it is possible his physical for the Dolphins has already taken place. Albert missed three games of 2012 because of a back injury the Dolphins would have to closely examine.
Coming to terms on a new contract might also complicate matters. Albert is already guaranteed $9.8 million for this season because of the franchise tag he signed. It is likely that he's seeking a contract similar to the four-year, $34 million deal the Dolphins wouldn't match for four-time Pro Bowler Jake Long, who signed with the St. Louis Rams this offseason.
That deal averages $8.5 million a season and included $20 million of guaranteed money.
The Dolphins have approximately $14-15 million in cap space to work with before signing the team's 11 draft selections, and offensive line is the team's biggest need. Trading for Albert would address one of the team's biggest voids and allow Jonathan Martin, a second-round pick in 2012, to remain the starting right tackle.