Monday, September 6, 2010

Dolphins sign former Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter

Now five years removed from coaching the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins' Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells continues to add familiar faces to his current squad.

This time, it's former Cowboys inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter, who played four seasons in Dallas after being selected 18th overall out of Ohio State in 2006. He was traded to the St. Louis Rams for offensive tackle Alex Barron in May, but released by the Rams in Saturday.

Carpenter was signed to the active roster and was practicing with the team Monday, sporting Erik Walden's old No. 50. The Dolphins terminated the contract of linebacker Charlie Anderson to make room for Carpenter on the roster.

Carpenter provides veteran depth at inside linebacker with Channing Crowder suffering from a mysterious injury, while Anderson's release clears $2.2 million in salary off the books in 2010.

The Dolphins' active roster currently stands at a full 53 players, with one spot still open on the eight-man practice squad.


Bobby Carpenter

The son of former NFL running back Rob Carpenter, Bobby was a star linebacker at Ohio State alongside future top-five NFL draft pick A. J. Hawk (Packers) and earned All-Big Ten honors his final two seasons with the Buckeyes.

Parcells drafted Carpenter 18th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft, converting him to inside linebacker in the Cowboys' 3-4 defensive scheme.

Originally regarded as a smart, high-motor, hard-hitting linebacker coming out of college, Carpenter developed a reputation for being soft in the pros, nicknamed "Barbie" by his own teammates, criticized for not being physical enough by his linebackers coach, and called a "finesse guy" by owner Jerry Jones.

Needless to say, Carpenter never lived up to his draft status in Dallas, playing only one season under Parcells before the coach retired and setting up a permanent shop in the new staff's dog house.

In 58 games over four seasons with the Cowboys, Carpenter started just three games and totaled 96 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two pass deflections.

Carpenter was swapped to the Rams in May for another first-round bust in offensive tackle Alex Barron. He totaled 11 tackles, a sack, an interception, and two pass deflections in four preseason games with the Rams, but was released during final cuts.

In Miami, Carpenter joins fellow 2006 first-round bust Jason Allen, who was selected by the Dolphins just two spots before the Cowboys took Carpenter.


Analysis

It isn't surprising to see Anderson released at this point. He was due a pretty significant chunk of salary for a player project to be a fourth inside linebacker, and was simply at the point in his career where he had shown he wasn't going to develop into much more than he already was.

His release bodes well for Quentin Moses, who should be able to hang onto a roster spot as the only real experience backup outside linebacker on the roster.

Meanwhile, there isn't much to get excited about here, as Carpenter has been a huge disappointment as a pro. He offers little against the run and has pretty much proved he is not starting material in the NFL.

That being said, the one quality he does offer is solid coverage skills, which happens to be an area Channing Crowder is lacking. The Dolphins were hoping rookie fourth-rounder A. J. Edds could take over some of those responsibilities before he was lost for the season to a torn ACL.

Signing Carpenter isn't a bad move for the Dolphins. It likely came at a very cheap price, and it provides an experience NFL body to serve as the fourth inside linebacker, or third if Crowder is unavailable.

As impressive as undrafted rookie Micah Johnson was in the preseason, he's not ready for a role on defense and doesn't have the athleticism to contribute right now.

Given his NFL experience and familiarity with the Dolphins' staff, don't be surprised to see him active against Buffalo if Crowder is a no-go.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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