Clearly concerned about their offensive line depth after recent injuries to Nate Garner and John Jerry, the Miami Dolphins have signed veteran free-agent guard Randy Thomas to a contract.
To make room for Thomas on the roster, the Dolphins have waived wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen, who was signed from the CFL in January.
Grice-Mullen had been hampered by a hamstring injury in camp and had been outplayed by undrafted rookie receivers Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace.
The moves keep the Dolphins' 80-man roster at 78 active players, plus defensive end Phillip Merling (Active/Non-Football Injury) and linebacker A. J. Edds, who is counting toward the active roster until Aug. 31 despite being on injured reserve.
A first-team All-SEC selection at Mississippi State, Thomas was drafted by Bill Parcells and the New York Jets in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft.
Thomas was immediately installed as a starter in the Jets' offensive line as a rookie and went on to start all 61 contests in which he appeared in four seasons with the team.
Thomas also helped Jets running back Curtis Martin to some of his best career seasons, including a then career-high 1,513 yards and a Pro Bowl appearance in 2001. Thomas himself was a Pro Bowl alternate with the Jets in 2002.
A free agent in the 2003 offseason, Thomas signed a seven-year, $28 million contract with the Washington Redskins and was named a Pro Bowl alternate for the second consecutive season.
Thomas started 61 games during his first four seasons with the Redskins, missing only three due to injury during that span. He helped running back Clinton Portis rush for over 2,800 yards between the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
After missing 13 games in 2007 with a torn triceps, Thomas returned to the Redskins' starting lineup in 2008. He opened all 16 contests at right guard, helping Portis top 1,400 yards rushing and earn his second Pro Bowl appearance.
Thomas again suffered a torn triceps two games into the 2009 season and was placed on injured reserve. He was released by the Redskins in March 2010.
An 11-year NFL veteran, Thomas has started all 143 games in which he has appeared. He will wear No. 65 for the Dolphins and will likely work at right guard.
It's no real surprise to see Grice-Mullen cut here, as he hadn't been healthy for most of camp and was just one of 11 wide receivers competing for five spots on the active roster.
A poor man's Davone Bess, Grice-Mullen will likely head back to the CFL where he has a chance to actually play.
As for Thomas, goes, he has plenty of NFL experience and has played at a high level at times, and could even play left guard or right tackle in a pinch in addition to being a right guard.
Though Thomas has been a reliable starter for many years in the NFL, I don't see the Dolphins impeding the progress of John Jerry with an injury prone 34-year-old.
At most, Thomas will push Cory Procter and Donald Thomas for a reserve spot on the Dolphins' roster, which is actually a role he has never held having never appeared in an NFL game as a backup.
Thomas certainly has the talent to make the roster if he can stay healthy, though he's coming in late and is probably making close to a $1 million in base salary given the minimum salary for players with more than 10 years of NFL experience is $860,000.
This money is not guaranteed unless Thomas is on the active roster in Week 1, so he will need to prove to the Dolphins not only that he still has the ability to play at this point in his career, but also that he is worth the increased money as a backup over someone like Donald Thomas.
Despite his impressive résumé, Thomas is not a lock to make the Dolphins' final roster and is at the point in his career where his age and health could prevent him from ever playing in the NFL again.
As always, you can check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
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