JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars placed left tackle Branden Albert on the reserve/retired list Tuesday, essentially ending his brief and baffling tenure with the team.
The Jaguars said in a statement they made the designation four days after Albert approached team officials “about the opportunity to return to the NFL at a later date.”
Asked about it after the team’s joint practice in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with the New England Patriots, executive vice president of player personnel Tom Coughlin said, “Reserve/retired.”
“That’s it,” he said. “That’s all I have to say about it. There’s nothing really to say: Reserve/retired.”
Asked again what would happen if Albert tried to come back, Coughlin said, “We’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”
Placing Albert on the reserve/retired list means his contract is paused, and the Jaguars retain his rights. Albert was scheduled to make $8.8 million this season and $9.5 million in 2018.
For Albert to play elsewhere in 2017, Jacksonville would have to waive him. Other teams would then get a chance to pick up his contract. If he cleared waivers, he would become a free agent.
The 32-year-old Albert surprised coach Doug Marrone last week by telling him he planned to retire. Albert abruptly quit after three training camp practices in which he looked out of shape and past his prime.
It was never completely clear why Albert chose to walk away after nine NFL seasons, but it appears he doesn’t want to play in Jacksonville.
Why he would request to return seems simple. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Jaguars had the option to seek a prorated portion (about $3.4 million) of Albert’s $8.5 million signing bonus even though Miami paid it in 2014. Jacksonville also placed Albert on the exempt/left squad list last week, meaning he had five days to return or he would forfeit his current contract and be unable to play elsewhere in the league in 2017.
The Jaguars acquired Albert in a trade with the Dolphins in March. He skipped most of Jacksonville’s offseason program because he wanted a new contract.
Jacksonville responded by selecting Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson in the second round of the NFL draft.