When the Miami Dolphins sign David Garrard earlier this week, it was met with a lot of questions. Since the signing, we heard from Garrard and from Jeff Ireland. According to both men, the Dolphins will have an open QB competition in training camp between Garrard and Matt Moore. Honestly, I feel like someone is messing with me. Doesn’t it seem like the Dolphins are always entering camp with a QB competition for the starter’s job? Last year, the Dolphins sign Matt Moore who was signed to backup Chad Henne. Some suggest he didn’t have a legit shot in the competition with Henne, but we saw Moore’s value after he was forced to take over the starting role. Moore guided the Dolphins to a 6-3 record. Moore has dodged bullets this offseason, with the Dolphins missing on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Either would have been named the Dolphins new starter upon signing with the team.
Since the Dolphins were unable to bring in a clear upgrade to Matt Moore, they turned their attention to a guy who didn’t play in 2011 and is returning from an injured back. Garrard’s contract will pay him just over $3 mil for 1 season. He’s a low-risk, medium reward type signing. I can’t say high reward, because Garrard does not have high reward potential. This is not meant to diminish the value Garrard can bring. He either beats out Matt Moore for the starting job, or he gives the Dolphins the best backup QB option in the division (except for maybe the Jets, I’M KIDDING!).
Over his last 2 seasons in Jacksonville (2009-2010), Garrard has completed 62% of his passes for 6,331 yards (7.17 yards per attempt) with 38 TDs and 25 INTs. Those numbers better than most backups in the league. Oh, and did I mention that Garrard is a dual threat? In those last 2 years in Jacksonville, Garrard rushed for just about 300 yards per year and averaged 4.2 yards per carry and 4 rushing TDs each year. Those numbers aren’t too bad. If healthy, I think Garrard has a legit chance to enter September as the Dolphins starting QB.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely disappointed that the Dolphins missed on their franchise QB opportunities this offseason. I’m angry that Jeff Ireland failed, not only to upgrade the QB position, but also failed to upgrade the roster. If you aren’t going to find a way to upgrade the QB position, money should have been spent in other positions. I’m not sure why the Dolphins didn’t restructure a contract or 2 to clear cap space so that they could have be more active in free agency. Even if they plan on building through the draft, they still could have added a few pieces (Eric Winston, etc).
My Take: The Garrard signing is ‘okay’, but doesn’t thrill me. I like his signing because I like getting him for 1 year at $3.5 mil instead of Alex Smith for 3 years and a lot more money. I will like the signing and ‘the plan’ a lot more if the Dolphins draft Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden. Taking a QB early in the draft will prove that this regime finally gets it. If Tannehill is drafted, I can see him sitting on the bench for a year and learning…because he’s not ready yet. He only played QB at Texas A&M for 1.5 years, so while he has potential, he needs to learn. With Weeden, as I mentioned before, I think he has a better chance to throw his hat in the ring and compete with Garrard/Moore. He will be 29 in October and is NFL ready. If you are going to draft him, you have to be ready to play him early due to his age. Weeden, unlike Tannehill, can’t afford to sit the bench for a year or 2 to learn….or he’ll be 31 by then!