JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have released left tackle Branden Albert, ending a strange saga that lasted nearly two weeks.
The 32-year-old Albert is now free to sign with any other NFL team.
The Jaguars and Albert had been locked in a stalemate over how the sides would part ways. Albert left the team Aug. 31, telling coach Doug Marrone he planned to retire.
The Jaguars responded by placing Albert on the exempt/left squad list, meaning he had five days to return or he would forfeit his current contract and be unable to play in the league in 2017.
The relationship seemingly became more strained when the Jaguars considered going after a prorated portion ($3.4 million) of Albert’s $8.5 million signing bonus even though Miami paid it in 2014.
Not surprisingly, Albert then told the team he changed his mind and wanted to return.
Jacksonville, which was clearly ready to part ways with a player who looked out of shape and past his prime during three training camp practices, responded by placing him on the reserve/retired list. That meant Albert’s contract was paused, and Jacksonville retained his rights.
Releasing him Friday quite possibly was a reaction to Albert planning to show up for practice this weekend. Whether Albert really wants to play in 2017 probably will become evident if he signs with another team in the coming days or weeks.
It was never completely clear why Albert considered retirement after nine NFL seasons, but it appears he didn’t want to play in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars acquired Albert in a trade with the Dolphins in March, giving up a conditional seventh-round pick in 2018. Jacksonville gets the pick back if Albert fails to be on a 53-man roster for at least three regular-season games in 2017.
Albert skipped most of Jacksonville’s offseason program because he wanted a new contract. Jacksonville negated Albert’s bargaining power when it selected Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson in the second round of the NFL draft.
Also Friday, the Jaguars signed veteran running back Jonathan Grimes and waived/injured running back Tyler Gaffney.
Grimes has appeared in 53 games, totaling 619 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also has 53 receptions for 436 yards and a score. Grimes previously spent time with Houston and the New York Jets. He also appeared in two games for the Jaguars in 2012.