It is no secret the Miami Dolphins are looking to add some strength to their receiving corps, and on Monday, the team worked out Jabar Gaffney, making him the 3rd veteran wide receiver the Dolphins have taken a look at over the past few days. Just as Donte Stallworth and Mike Sims-Walker did before him, Gaffney has added his resume to the pile sitting on GM Jeff Ireland‘s desk, hoping to land a spot in the Dolphins starting rotation. NFL Rumors have already leaked from Dolphins headquarters, indicating Gaffney would be the first choice, if the 31 year old’s medical report comes back positive, but as of now, this is just an rumor. Until more is known, it is best to assume all three have an equal chance of making the team.
Gaffney is coming off of what should be considered a successful season with the Washington Redskins, having amassed 947 yards and 5 touchdowns despite the ‘Skins being entrenched in a relentless quarterback controversy. Both numbers represent career highs for Gaffney, who is now entering his 11th year in the NFL, and the numbers show he has been getting stronger every year since signing with the New England Patriots in 2006. Although he was the Redskins’ leading receiver last season, the team decided to let him go. He tried returning to the Patriots, but a hip injury suffered during training training camp led to his release late last week. This marks the second time Gaffney has been signed and released by an NFL team before the start of the season, having met the same fate when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in the Spring of 2006, although in his defense, the Patriots roster is overflowing with receivers this year, and his dismissal may have been more about the numbers than anything else.
There is no doubt about Gaffney’s ability to catch the ball in crucial situations, but his increased age, and nagging injury may be some cause for concern. At 31 Gaffney would be by no means the oldest WR in the league, but an NFL season can be brutal and signing Gaffney as a stop-gap may not be the answer. On the other hand, Gaffney’s stats over the last two years are extremely positive, and a veteran with his ability would undoubtedly help a young rookie quarterback like Ryan Tannehill, looking to improve upon the Dolphins 6-10 record from the year before.
Donte Stallworth also makes his appearance via the Redskins, by way of the Patriots, and just like Gaffney, he is 31 and entering what would be his 11th season in the NFL, were it not for a year long suspension he served in 2009 after being convicted of a DUI manslaughter charge. Unlike Gaffney, Stallworth’s numbers have been on the decline since 2005, save a slight increase last season as a member of the Redskins. Still, his numbers in Washington were a paltry 22 catches for 309 yards and 2 TDs, which are a far cry from the type of numbers the Dolphins are hoping to add. While Stallworth could also be helpful in Tannehill’s development, the odds in his case appear to be a lot longer.
Another problem for Stallworth may be the message first year head coach Joe Philbin has been stressing since Ireland hired him. Philbin has not masked his desire to build an atmosphere of strong character and morality within the Dolphins organization, and as such, the team has released, or traded, several key players who have had off the field issues. Signing a player who killed a man with his vehicle, while intoxicated, may not go over well after having parted ways with some of the most talented players the Dolphins had on their roster. Many of the Dolphins faithful are already up in arms over the state of the franchise, and unfortunately signing Stallworth would just make matters worse.
The same day Stallworth worked out for the Dolphins, ex-Jacksonville Jaguar, Mike Sims-Walker , made an appearance as well. One would think Sims-Walker would have a good shot at a position, seeing as how he is both younger and more physical than the other two veterans, but Sims-Walker’s injury plagued career has been circling the drain for quite some time now. He missed his entire rookie season as a Jaguar and has never been able to put together a complete season since. His best numbers were in 2009, when he had 63 receptions for 869 yards and 7 TDs. As a free agent, Sims-Walker joined the St. Louis Rams, who released him mid way through the season after they acquired Brandon Lloyd from the Denver Broncos. A short lived return to the Jags ended with him on the injured reserve, and he has been searching for work ever since.
A bounce back season is not out of the question for Sims-Walker, who was at one point considered one of the most talented prospects in the league, but based on history, such an outcome seems highly unlikely. From 2008 until now, he has less than 1,800 yards and has not payed a full 16 games once in his career. He was so underwhelming for the Rams, they actually benched him at one point, even though he was perfectly healthy, and able to play. Two failed attempts to land with a team already this offseaon make it pretty clear he is no longer an upgrade from the receivers already on the Dolphins roster.
The idea of bringing in veteran talent to shore up the holes in Miami’s offense is a novel one, but at this point, anyone they bring in is going to be a cast off cut from another team. Of the three, Jabar Gaffney seems as if he has the most upside, even though he has the most wear on the treads. Chances are, the Dolphins will see things the same way, as long as he is physically able to perform, no one should be surprised to see Gaffney become the newest member of the 2012 Miami Dolphins.
Jeff Everette is a featured columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. You can follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, or subscribe to Jeff Everette-RantSports.com on both Facebook and Google+ for all of his latest articles, opinions, and rants.
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