Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dolphins waive Jabar Gaffney, add two

Losers of three straight and now 4-6 on the season, it seems the Miami Dolphins are shifting from the present and instead looking toward the future.

The Dolphins waived wide receiver Jabar Gaffney on Tuesday, just a month and a half after signing the veteran. Gaffney, who replaced Legedu Naanee on the roster and eventually worked as the team's No. 3 receiver, struggled to make an impact in seven weeks with the team and was inactive last Thursday against Buffalo with a knee injury.

Updated (11/23): Ben Volin reports Gaffney was suspended for two games by the NFL yesterday, which certainly could have had something to do with his release. The reason for the suspension is unknown, but he can serve it as a free agent.

Gaffney will have to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent, as all players do at this point in the season. The Dolphins are not on the hook for the remainder of his salary because he was not on the roster to begin the regular season.

Replacing Gaffney on the active roster is second-year tight end Kyle Miller, who was claimed off waivers from the Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins also added free agent guard Ryan Durand, filling a spot on the 53-man roster than had been open since cornerback Brandon McDonald was waived two weeks ago.

Finally, the Dolphins released tight end Dominique Jones from the practice squad and signed offensive tackle Jeff Adams in his place. Jones joined the Dolphins roughly a month ago after starting the season with the Colts.


Ryan Durand

A Worcester, Mass. native, Durand was a three-year starter at right guard for the Syracuse Orange and was a four-time All-Big East selection. As a senior in 2008, he was named a second-team all-conference selection and participated in the East-West Shrine Game.

The Tennessee Titans drafted Durand in the seventh round (239th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He was waived during final cuts and spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad before being re-signed in the offseason.

After making the Titans' roster out of camp in 2010, Durand was inactive for the team until making his NFL debut with seven snaps at left guard against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 10. He was waived on Nov. 23 and spent the remainder of the season on the team's practice squad.

Durand re-signed by the Titans in 2011 and again spent the entire season on the team's practice squad. In 2012, he was waived during final cuts for the third time in four years and has been a free agent since.


Kyle Miller

The son of former Cleveland Browns quarterback, Mark Miller, Kyle was a four-year letterman at Mount Union, catching 87 passes for 1,259 yards and 16 touchdowns in 47 career games. As a senior, he was a first-team All-OAC selection and a Division III All-American.

Undrafted in 2011, Miller signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and caught two passes for 17 yards in the presason before being waived during final cuts.

Miller signed with the Colts in April 2012 and began the season on the team's practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 12 and made his NFL debut in Nov. 18 against the New England Patriots. The Colts waived him the following day.


Jeff Adams

Adams was an All-Ivy League selection at left tackle during his final three seasons at Columbia, as well as a third-team All-American as a senior in 2011.

Undrafted in 2012, Adams signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. He appeared in two preseason games before being waived during final cuts. He then signed to the practice squad of the Cincinnati Bengals, where he remained for 10 weeks before being released on Nov. 13.


Analysis

It's no surprise to see Gaffney cut here, as the Dolphins' season has taken a nosedive and the veteran just wasn't providing any tangible boost to the passing game with rookie Ryan Tannehill. According to Pro Football Focus, Gaffney caught four passes for 68 yards on 11 targets while dropping two passes and having one pass thrown his way intercepted.

At this point, there was no reason to continue on with Gaffney and the Dolphins were obviously content seeing what they have in younger receivers Marlon Moore and rookie Rishard Matthews. The Dolphins only have four players at the position on the active roster right now, which could pave the way for a late-season promotion for practice squad receivers Jeff Fuller and/or Brian Tyms.

It seems the Dolphins are finally starting to take me seriously, as Jeff Adams was one of my suggested undrafted rookie signings in my offseason plan piece from March. Maybe if they had started listening to me sooner, the Dolphins wouldn't be 4-6!

In all seriousness, I like the Allen signing and it'll be interesting to see if he can earn an offseason contract and a chance to compete for a spot in training camp. I suspect for the time being he'll work with Will Yeatman at left tackle, keeping Jake Long fresher during practice. The 6-foot-7, 305-pounder is a small school prospect but has some developmental upside.

Also joining the offensive line is Durand, who hasn't had an easy go of it since being drafted four years ago. Durand was a low-upside prospect coming out of Syracuse and doesn't offer elite physical tools at 6-foot-5 and 301 pounds, although I suspect he at least fits what the team is looking for in an interior lineman more than some of the others. He'll probably back up Richie Incognito at left guard, though he has the ability to play the right side as well, which he did his entire time at Syracuse.

Like the other two additions, don't expect much of an impact from Miller, either. He's the fourth tight end on the roster and would certainly be limited to special teams if he dresses for any games down the line. Miller, who also has long-snapping experience but is no threat to John Denney's job, is simply competing for a spot on the offseason roster.