The Miami Dolphins had a busy Thursday afternoon and at the end of the day they freed up $19.7 million in salary cap space. Left tackle Branden Albert, defensive end Mario Williams, and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell have been released by Adam Gase and Co. as the team prepares to fill their needs during free agency.

Albert spent the past three seasons protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blindside and he still had two years remaining on the five-year, $47 million contract he signed in 2014. Miami will save $7.2 million in cap space by releasing Albert although they do still have to pay him $3.4 million in dead money.

Left tackle is one of the most important position in the NFL and, luckily for Miami, Albert spent all of last season grooming rookie Laremy Tunsil, who played left guard in his first year with the team, but will likely move over to left tackle for the 2017 season. Despite injury concerns that prevented him from completing a season with Miami, Albert won’t last long on an open market that is severely lacking left tackles.

Williams will also become a free agent after posting 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks in one disappointing season with Miami. Instead of paying him $10.5 million next season, the Dolphins will clear $8.5 million in cap space by cutting him. His future is murkier than Albert’s following unsuccessful stints with the Buffalo Bills and now Miami.

Mitchell’s departure comes as a bit of surprise after the team activated him from injured reserve back in Week 10. He became a starter alongside Ndamukong Suh as soon as he fully recovered from a calf injury in Week 13 and helped turned around the interior of Miami’s defensive line. The Dolphins will save $4 million by releasing Mitchell while only paying $500,000 in dead money.

Stay tuned to End Zone Score for more on Miami’s offseason.

Justin Caba is a staff writer covering the New York Jets and other AFC East news for Contact him via email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @JustinCaba40

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