There were plenty of reasons for the Miami Dolphins to move on from starting left tackle Branden Albert, who is expected to be traded or released next month. Miami has younger players in former first-round picks Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James at left and right tackle, respectively.
But the eventual domino effect of getting rid of Albert will have a big impact at guard. Tunsil, who played left guard last season, would move outside to his natural position. Meanwhile, starting right guard Jermon Bushrod will be an unrestricted free agent in March.
So what will Miami do with two huge openings at guard?
This is a position the team struggled with until Tunsil and Bushrod came aboard last season. Before that, failed draft picks such as Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and others often left quarterback Ryan Tannehill taking a pounding on a weekly basis.
There aren't many in-house options currently available for the Dolphins. Perhaps backup guard/center Kraig Urbik could fill one starting spot. At best, one guard position remains wide open.
Free agency has several decent veteran options, such as former Green Bay Packers starter T.J. Lang and former Cincinnati Bengals starter Kevin Zeitler. But signing a top guard (or two) in free agency won't come cheap.
The draft might be more cost-effective, for Miami but rookies are inexperienced, and this isn't a great year for guard. Top rookie prospects this year include Dan Feeney of Indiana and Dion Dawkins from Temple, who are more second- and third-round projects.
Miami is set at center (Mike Pouncey) and tackle (Tunsil, James) for next season. But the guard position will be a position to keep an eye on this offseason.