Friday, July 29, 2011

Dolphins sign quarterback Matt Moore to two-year deal

It probably wasn't the quarterback everyone was hoping for, but the Miami Dolphins did add a veteran signal-caller Thursday in the form of former Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore. The signing was originally reported by OregonLive.com and has since been confirmed by the local Miami media.

In Miami, Moore should at least compete for the Dolphins' starting job or potentially provide a veteran backup in the No. 2 spot. Moore will receive a two-year contract worth $5 million and a potential value of $7.5 million based on playing time.

The Dolphins now have four quarterbacks on the roster, as Moore joins Chad Henne, Tom Brandstater, and undrafted rookie Pat Devlin.


Background

Moore saw action as a true freshman at UCLA in 2002 due to injuries, and opened the 2003 season as the Bruins' starter before a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness sidelined him.

After a year away from football while attending College of the Canyons, Moore a transferred to Oregon State and became the team's starting quarterback. He finished his career with the Beavers with 5,733 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors and the MVP award in the Sun Bowl as a senior in 2006.

Undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Moore was by a Dallas Cowboys staff that included current general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano. However, he was claimed off waivers by the Panthers after final cuts and ended up appearing in nine games in relief of Vinny Testaverde and David Carr, throwing for 730 yards and three touchdowns against five interceptions.

A broken fibula suffered in the preseason caused Moore to miss the Panthers' first four games in 2008, and he spent the remaining 12 as the inactive third-string quarterback as he failed to appear in a game that season.

Moore appeared in seven games for the Panthers in 2009, including starts in the final five after Jake Delhomme suffered a broken finger. On the season, Moore posted a passer rating of 98.5 as he threw for 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns with just two interceptions.

A restricted free agent in the 2010 offseason, Moore was retained on the highest tender of a first- and a third-round pick, giving him a salary that season of $3.043 million. Expected to replace Delhomme as the Panthers' starter, but bounced in and of the the starting lineup.

Moore was initially replaced by rookie Jimmy Clausen after a concussion in the season opener, reclaiming the job in October only to suffer a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 9, finishing the season with 857 yards and five touchdowns with 10 interceptions.


Analysis

Moore may not be the sexiest name out there and he is by no means a savior at quarterback for the Dolphins, but this is a good signing for the team from a few different vantage points.

If you're looking purely at the Dolphins' roster, a quarterback with some NFL experience was needed to either challenge or back up Henne, because there was no way the Dolphins were ever going to fill their depth chart out with two guys that haven't played in a game in Brandstater and Devlin.

In that sense, Moore is absolutely a quality backup to have. While he hasn't taken advantage of his opportunities as a starter, he has plenty of pro experience and also performed quite well down the stretch in 2009. His arm and accuracy are sufficient for the most part.

Don't think, however, the Dolphins are out of the running for Kyle Orton just because they signed Moore, as some would have you believe.

If you'll recall in 2008, the Dolphins signed Josh McCown to be the short-term starter, only to trade him in the preseason once they signed Chad Pennington.

While I'm not saying it will happen, there is no reason to believe the team wouldn't consider Orton if Denver lowers their asking price or he were to eventually be cut. The presence of Moore on the Dolphins gives the team leverage in trade talks with the Broncos, who now have less of an immediate need for Orton.

But while the Dolphins would almost certainly be acquiring Orton to start him, I don't think the same can be said for Moore. I don't see anything in Moore's game that gives him the edge over Henne, and I have to expect that if Moore stays, he'll end up being the backup.

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


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