The Dolphins have plenty of room on their offseason roster, but that hasn't stopped them from trimming a few of the more expendable players heading into the offseason. The latest casualties - guard Matt McChesney and linebacker Kelvin Smith - were both waived on Tuesday, Feb. 10.
A freshman All-American at Syracuse in 2003, Smith was drafted by the Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He appeared in four games as a rookie, recording one assisted tackle.
Smith suffered a torn ACL in the Dolphins' 2008 preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 9. He was subsequently waived/injured and reverted back to the Dolphins' injured reserve list, where he spent the entire season.
One of the many players to join the Dolphins' guard carousel in 2008, McChesney was originally signed to the team's practice squad on Sept. 24 after tight end Drew Atchison was released. He was eventually promoted to the active roster on Nov. 7 to replace a waived Evan Mathis. McChesney played against the Seattle Seahawks in a reserve role two days later, but was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Nov. 15.
Originally a defensive tackle out of Colorado, McChesney signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He played in three games for the New York Jets that season before making the switch to the offensive line.
McChesney's release gives the Dolphins eight offensive linemen under contract and three with expiring contacts. He has since been claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos - now his fourth NFL franchise.
There isn't any real loss here and I can't say I'm shocked at either move. In fact, in my offseason preview video for the inside linebacker position, I said I wouldn't be surprised if Smith didn't even make it to training camp with the team.
Smith doesn't look nearly as big as his listed height and weight (6-2, 240) and isn't a great fit for inside linebacker in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme. He likely would have been gone last August had he not gotten hurt, but by rule the Dolphins were unable to release him due to the injury which he why he spent all season on injured reserve.
If Smith has a future in the NFL it will likely be on special teams. Assuming he recovers from his knee injury sufficiently, he should be able to latch on with a 4-3 team and compete for a backup/special teams gig.
As for McChesney, he was always a project the team never expected much out of and it seems they were ready to move on. He's likely about out of chances to make it in the NFL as a reserve guard and will probably be out of the league within a year or two if he doesn't significantly improve his game.
In all honesty, when I think of McChesney, it just reminds me that this guy - a former college defensive tackle who hadn't played an NFL game since 2005 (and never one on offense) was able to get on the field for the Dolphins before our 2008 fourth-round pick, Shawn Murphy. When you look at the way McChesney's career has gone and his track record (or lack thereof), it speaks volumes that the guy was able to get on the field before our rookie fourth-rounder.
With the two roster moves, the Dolphins now have 56 players under contract for the 2009 season - 24 under the 80-man offseason roster limit. That room will be filled with some re-signed free agents, free-agent additions from other teams, draft picks and undrafted rookies.