Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dolphins sign Marcus Brown, Jonathan Freeny to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins made a handful of practice squad moves Tuesday, including the return of a familiar face. The Dolphins signed cornerback Marcus Brown to the practice squad and also re-added linebacker Jonathan Freeny, who spent training camp with the team as an undrafted free agent.

Cornerback Brandon King leaves for the Colts' active roster while offensive tackle Andre Ramsey's stay on the practice squad is over after just one week as he was given his release.

The Dolphins' practice squad remains full with eight players. Freeny will presumably retain his old No. 49, while Brown's jersey number is still unknown.


Marcus Brown

Not to be confused with a former Cardinals, Bengals, and Rams cornerback out of McNeese State from a few years back, this Marcus Brown played college football at Arkansas State, where he appeared in 31 games over three seasons and totaled 123 tackles, an interception, and nine pass deflections.

Undrafted in 2010, Brown signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a rookie free agent. He was waived during final cuts but subsequently re-signed to the practice squad, where he remains for much of the regular season. He earned a promotion to the active roster on Dec. 20 and made his NFL regular season debut against the St. Louis Rams in Jan. 2, although he was inactive for both of the team's playoff games.

Brown appeared in just one preseason game for the Seahawks in 2011 before being waived. He has been a free agent since.


Jonathan Freeny

A Broward County (Fla.) native, Freeny appeared in eight games for the Scarlet Knights as a true freshman and recorded three tackles. He had 13 tackles and a sack as a sophomore in 2008 before a breakout season in 2009 that saw him record nine sacks. However, a down senior season with just a half-sack severely hurt his NFL prospects and he went undrafted.

Signed by the Dolphins as a free agent following the 20120 NFL Draft, Freeny converted from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme. He appeared in four preseason games and recorded two tackles before being waived during final cuts.

Since being waived by the Dolphins, Freeny has had a few sniffs from NFL teams but has yet to even land a practice squad gig until now. He signed with the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League on Oct. 4, but has been placed on the Other League/Exempt list since signing with the Dolphins.


Analysis

Ramsey's stay on the practice squad was quite a short one, and I assume this means Vernon Carey (ankle) is back to practicing and the extra offensive line depth is not needed. Now whether or not Carey gets his job back given how well John Jerry played in his place is another story.

King returns to the Colts, whom he played for in 2010. It's a logical move given that he's familiar with the system and the team just lost Jerraud Powers (War Eagle!) for the season. By rule, the Colts must keep King on the roster for the next three weeks because they signed him off another team's practice squad.

His replacement, Brown, isn't all that great of a prospect and it's actually quite amazing he's even made this much of a career after an unspectacular showing in college. He's got 4.3 speed but not much else and is a serious project. He'll function as secondary practice depth, but not much more.

It'll be interesting to see what Freeny does in his second go-round with the Dolphins, although it's not a good sign he's gone more than three months without being on another practice squad. He should be pretty familiar with the system and can give vets like Jason Taylor breathers in practice, but his upside is probably minimal.

Both Brown and Freeny will have about a month (if they can make it that long) to try and earn a spot on the 80-man offseason roster and get invited back to training camp, where they'll hope to make the team as reserves and special-teamers.

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


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