The Branden Albert saga took another surprising turn Monday night. Just a week after announcing his retirement LT Brandon Albert wants to un-retire and return to the Jaguars.
There's no doubt this has been one of the strangest offseason story lines in recent memory for the Jaguars.
You trade a seventh round pick for a potential starter at left tackle. Said left tackle reports to the team and by all accounts including his own is happy to be in Jacksonville. Fast forward two months and left tackle hasn't spoken to team and isn't reporting to OTAs. Left tackle finally reports to the Jaguars, in order to avoid potential fines for skipping the mandatory part of the offseason program. Fast forward again - after just one padded practice left tackle decides to retire. Fast forward again, this time only a week, and left tackle wants to un-retire.
Is this good news? Bad news? Does it matter?
At this point it's hard to tell. According to a tweet from Jaguars beat writer Mike DiRocco the team is "unlikely to allow recently retired OT Branden Albert to return."
If Albert isn't allowed to return to the team then this is really a non story, but if the opposite happens this will raise red flags about the confidence of the new regime in the current state of the offensive line.
And there certainly are red flags with this group. A right side comprised of veteran Jermey Parnell, who was regularly put on skates a season ago, and AJ Cann who had a major regression in year two. On the left side you have Cam Robinson, who's never played a down in the NFL, and Patrick Omameh, who has some experience, but is far from a world beater. The only offensive lineman on the team that brings any true credibility is center Brandon Linder. But he isn't without warts either. Linder has missed exactly 1/3 of the Jaguars games due to injury since he entered the league in 2014.
Where am I going with all this?
I guess what I'm getting at is that the Jaguars brass could have and should have done a better job this offseason and in past ones to put together a more talented group of offensive lineman. They've had their opportunities. In 2016 they could have signed center Alex Mack, who happened to be a real difference maker for the Atlanta Falcons in their Super Bowl run, but they elected to bow out of the sweepstakes despite having one of the healthiest cap situations in all of football. In 2017 the Jaguars were hot on the trail of stud offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, but again the team bowed out. In 2017 and past drafts the team had ample opportunity to keep adding more talent on the offensive line, but Dave Caldwell repeatedly decided to pursue other ventures and missed on many of the offensive lineman he did select.
The Jaguars regime has done a lot right so far. They've built a defense that should be among the most competitive in the entire NFL. They've put together a group of running backs and receivers that is second to none. But they haven't constructed an offensive line that inspires any confidence.
Is it the Jaguars fault that Albert decided to call it quits and a week later decided he wanted to return to the team? Probably not, but this situation could have been avoided if more of an emphasis had been placed on offensive line talent over the last several years.
If I'm the Jaguars I'm letting Albert return to the team, because why not? His cap number won't affect the team's long term plans and if he gives you anything at left tackle or even left guard then it's a win for the team.
Stay tuned for more.
Would you like to see Albert return to the Jaguars? Let us know in the comment section below
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