Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dolphins place Koa Misi on injured reserve, promote Pat Devlin from practice squad

The Miami Dolphins placed linebacker Koa Misi on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday, two days after his missed the team's 30-23 victory over the Buffalo Bills with a shoulder injury.

The Dolphins' second-round pick in 2010, Misi had started nine of 12 games played this season but had totaled just 34 tackles and a sack while splitting time with veteran Jason Taylor. Misi recorded 4.5 sacks in 16 games as a rookie last season, but has just two in his last 22 games.

To take Misi's spot on the active roster, the Dolphins promoted rookie third-string quarterback Pat Devlin, who has spent the entire season on the team's practice squad after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Delaware in July. He will sit behind starter Matt Moore and veteran backup J. P. Losman for the team's two remaining games, barring injury.

Interestingly, the Dolphins also brought another arm into practice by signing free agent quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to the practice squad to fill Devlin's spot. The Dolphins now have four quarterbacks between the active roster and practice squad, which is unusual considering the team has had only two active and three total up to this week.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson

A California native, Bethel-Thompson originally attended UCLA before transferring and playing three seasons at Sacramento State. During his collegiate career with the Bruins and Hornets, he appeared in 14 games and threw for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Bethel-Thompson went undrafted in 2010 and played for the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League in 2011, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He spent training camp with the San Francisco 49ers in later that year, throwing one pass in the preseason before being waived during final cuts.

Following his release, Bethel-Thompson to the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League. Although season statistics from 2011 appear impossible to find even on the league's official website, Bethel-Thompson was named the UFL Player of the Week in Week 5 after going 25-for-46 for 260 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. (If anyone can provide more details on Bethel-Thompson's UFL stint, please drop me a line.)

This actually isn't the first time I've written about Bethel-Thompson, who originally worked out for the Dolphins in early November. As a practice squad player, he will participate in team practices and meetings but will not be able to play in games. He will earn roughly $5,700 a week, is eligible to be signed to another NFL team's active roster, and becomes a free agent at season's end.


The Dolphins only have one really productive pass rusher in Cameron Wake, but losing Misi isn't going to hurt. Misi has been good against the run this season but that's about it, as he's struggled in both pass coverage and in his primary obligation of getting to the quarterback.

Jason Taylor will take over as the full-time strong-side linebacker, and you'll probably see more Jason Trusnik (14 tackles) and maybe even Ikaika Alama-Francis (one tackle) on defense over the next few weeks. Taylor isn't the player he once was at 37, but he's a serviceable starter and could even be an upgrade over Misi.

Don't get excited about Devlin's promotion—it's merely a procedural move to ensure he's around for training camp in 2012. The Dolphins won't play him this season unless both of their other quarterbacks get hurt, but signing him to a two-year deal now ensures he'll be on next year's roster and won't be poached by another team between now and the offseason.

With the promotion, Devlin will receive just over $22,000 per week on a prorated contract for the rookie minimum of $375,000. It's a healthy increase from the $5,700 he was earning weekly on the practice squad. Devlin's contract also called for a base salary of $460,000 in 2012 should be make the final roster.

I'm a bit surprised the Dolphins filled Devlin's practice squad spot with another quarterback, as the team has carried just three all season and four seems like a bit of overkill. Perhaps the Dolphins don't want to overwork Moore, who suffered a concussion two weeks ago, and Losman this late in the season while taking a look at a project quarterback in Bethel-Thompson.

As a prospect, Bethel-Thompson doesn't really jump out as someone that's an NFL talent. He was a two-star prep recruit by both and, has an underwhelming collegiate career marred by injuries, and has failed to earn starting jobs in both the AFL and UFL since going undrafted in 2010.

Bethel-Thompson has NFL quarterback size at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds and reportedly has a decent arm, but he seems a long shot to ever make an NFL impact and may not be long for the Dolphins' roster. He'll be lucky if he can even earn a contract in the offseason.

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

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