Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dolphins part ways with David Garrard

The Miami Dolphins surprised many by keeping four quarterbacks through last week's final cuts, but that's been sorted out now as the team has released veteran David Garrard. Garrard confirmed the move via Twitter, thanking fans and wishing his teammates well in the upcoming season.

No corresponding move has been announced and it remains unclear if the team will add a free agent to fill Garrard's roster spot or potential bring back one of their practice squad members.

The Dolphins' quarterback situation has been a pretty big roller coaster to follow this offseason. You had Matt Moore coming off a strong season in relief; Garrard brought in by the new regime; Ryan Tannehill drafted eighth overall in April.

In the last month, I've gone from thinking Garrard would start, Moore would back up and Tannehill would be the third-stringer sitting out a year, to thinking Moore would start and Tannehill would back up with the injured Garrard let go, to thinking Tannehill would start with Moore backing up and Garrard let go, to thinking Garrard might return and back up Tannehill while allowing the Dolphins to trade or release Moore. You follow all that?

The Dolphins likely reached this point for one or two different reasons. First, it's possible the Dolphins weren't greeted with a viable trade option for Moore after his weak preseason showing. Secondly, it's possible that Garrard, who returned to the practice field yesterday after roughly four weeks off, was deemed simply too much of an injury risk to roll with as Tannehill's backup.

What was never going to happen was the team keeping both veterans to back up Tannehill. Both Garrard and Moore are making over $2 million each this season and there is little point in paying one of them that kind of money to be a third-stringer when Devlin can handle the job at $390,000. Both veterans would have been guaranteed their entire 2012 salaries if they had been on the Week 1 roster, so this move was inevitable.

Expect Tannehill's leash to be a little long now that Moore is backing him up rather than Garrard. While Garrard was brought in by the new coaching staff and handed the starting job at the beginning of camp, the Dolphins never really seemed to like Moore, who is deemed a bad fit for the offense and wasn't given a fair shot to beat out the rookie.

That being the case, any struggles Tannehill might encounter as a rookie should be given more of a pass now because there isn't a favored veteran behind him. Rather, the Dolphins kept the younger, healthier veteran behind him that has more of a chance to generate trade value (even on the bench) by the Week 8 deadline that Garrard would have.

It's already been suggested by some that the Dolphins could part with Moore at some point this season via trade if they like Devlin in the No. 2 role, although I have a hard time seeing the team roll with only two quarterbacks and two with so little NFL experience. The former undrafted free agent got mop-up work in the preseason and has never played in a regular season game, so he remains the third-stringer for now and could even be moved to the practice squad at some point if the Dolphins need a roster spot.