Last Tuesday, the Miami Dolphins released QB David Garrard. That meant Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, and Pat Devlin made the Dolphins’ 53 Man Roster for the first regular season game against Houston. But, is the Dolphins‘ roster settled at QB for the season … or … even for the near future?
Let’s turn back the clock for a moment. At the beginning of training camp, Garrard was the QB placed with the first team. He remained at the top of the depth chart even named the starting QB for the first preseason game with Tampa Bay. Then came the tweak of the knee at the pool and the subsequent scope. As seen on Hard Knocks, Garrard did not recover in time to make the 53 man roster for game 1 of the regular season. As a result, Garrard was released.
But, why was he released?
I thought that the Dolphins might place Garrard on the IR List as their “marquee” player. This would make him available to practice in Week 6 and available to play in Week 8. This scenario would make it possible to trade Matt Moore in the event that a key injury to a QB came about on another NFL team. A trade that could result in the Dolphins potentially adding a second day pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Or, a trade that could result in adding a key player this year — like a WR and a DB.
This did not happen for two reasons. First, each NFL team can only designate one “marquee” player. Therefore, if Garrard was named THE “marquee” player and another “marquee” player (i.e. Jake Long, Karlos Dansby, etc) came down with an injury requiring a lengthy rehab, the Dolphins would have to carry that dead weight on the 53 man roster or lose them for the season on IR. This could be problematic, if the injury came at a position which lacked depth, resulting in the Dolphins being unable to pick up a player to replace the injured one, without releasing another player on the 53 man roster. I think the Dolphins management did not want to waste the “marquee” tag on a what could be just a backup QB — they believe Tannehill is their starting QB, hopefully for the season.
Second, Garrard was due to make $2.35 million for the season. This money became guaranteed on Saturday, September 8th (today) @ 4:00 pm. If the Dolphins placed him on the IR List, the Dolphins would have to pay Garrard the money and take the salary cap hit. This would be a waste of money and salary cap hit in the event that Garrard could not come back in time (or at all) and/or the Dolphins could not trade Moore. So, I think the Dolphins chose the release Garrard and save the money.
It is important to point out that the Dolphins released Garrard after the filming of Hard Knocks was completed. I think this was done on purpose. The timing of the release meant that the exit interview with Jeff Ireland did not play out on national TV revealing any possible future plans the Dolphins may have for Garrard.
Let’s face it, it is highly unlikely that another NFL team will pick up Garrard and place him on their 53 man roster while Garrard is rehabbing a knee injury. This rehab will likely go on at least another 2-3 weeks. Thus, if the scenario unfolded whereby the Dolphins were able to trade Moore for a decent 2013 draft pick or if Moore can be traded for a WR or DB, Garrard could be resigned by the Dolphins and take the roll of the backup QB — ready to start, if Tannehill struggles or gets injured. And, Moore and Garrard are relatively interchangeable in terms of money, so there would not be a salary cap hit. Additionally, based on Hard Knocks, Garrard seems to be a better mentor for Tannehill than Moore. He has more starting experience in the NFL.
So, I think the Dolphins QB situation is not settled, as of yet. Even if Tannehill turns out to be the starter for the entire season, the backup roll still may change in the near future. Or, at least until David Garrard rehabs his knee and then gets picked up by another team.
What do you think?
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