After announcing his retirement earlier in camp, left tackle Branden Albert is reportedly on his way back to camp to play for the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Well, this is a little strange bit of good news for the Jacksonville Jaguars camp. Apparently two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert isn’t retiring after all. According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, “Branden Albert has informed Jaguars he is going to report to team.”
Albert was essentially traded from the Miami Dolphins for tight end Julius Thomas. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase wanted his former Denver Broncos Pro Bowl tight end in Thomas, who had not panned out at all in two years with the Jaguars. Albert was supposed to help bring stability out on the edge of the Jaguars’ offensive line for new head coach Doug Marrone.
Initially, Albert was not on board with playing in Jacksonville for that amount of money. He had been a Pro Bowler twice in his career with the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs and the 2015 Dolphins. At 32 years old, Albert can still play at a high level in the NFL if he is technically sound out on the edge.
Though it might be a tad awkward coming back to camp, the Jaguars do need Albert this fall. Jacksonville has been one of the worst teams in football for almost a decade. The Jaguars almost always are picking in the top five of the NFL Draft. They have invested heavily in upgrading in free agency but can’t seem to get the draft right often enough.
The good news is that offensive linemen are better with age in the NFL and not fresh out of college. Many of these young linemen played in an Air Raid attack in college. A prime example of this is how former No. 2 overall pick in Luke Joeckel was a bust for the Jaguars the last four years. He now plays guard for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Jaguars have the talent defensively to be a top-10 team on that side of the ball. Jacksonville’s biggest question is if the offense can be anything close to competent. Quarterback Blake Bortles can’t play like he did in 2016, period. Maybe a savvy veteran at left tackle like Albert helps Bortles progress as a passer in year four out of UCF?