Donte’ Stallworth worked out for the Dolphins on Thursday. Jabar Gaffney is expected to do the same soon.
And by 9 p.m. Friday, another 150 or so wide receivers will shake loose as teams make their mandated cuts.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but somewhere in that group of castoffs could lie the hope of the Dolphins’ passing game, not to mention Ryan Tannehill’s rookie season.
After a woeful preseason by the Dolphins’ receiving corps, general manager Jeff Ireland wasted no time in searching for solutions. The team got a close look Thursday at Stallworth, 31, who caught 22 passes for 309 yards for Washington last season. Stallworth has played for six teams and has 320 receptions in nine NFL seasons, but was cut by the Patriots earlier this week.
If his name sounds familiar to even casual South Florida sports fans, it should — even though he has never played for an area team. Stallworth was involved in a fatal DUI accident in March 2009, killing a pedestrian on the MacArthur Causeway.
Stallworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter as part of a financial settlement with the victim’s family, and served a month in jail. He was suspended for the entire 2009 season without pay, but returned in 2010, catching just 24 passes total the past two years.
Gaffney has been the more productive of the two in recent years. Like Stallworth, he was given his walking papers by the Patriots this week, but his release appears to be injury-based. Gaffney had been working with New England’s starters before hurting his right quadriceps two weeks ago. Gaffney caught 68 passes for 947 yards in Washington last year, the most prolific season of his 10-year career. It is not clear when the Dolphins plan to bring him in for a workout, but the team clearly has an interest.
Stallworth wasn’t alone at Thursday’s tryout. Jaguars wideout Mike Sims-Walker also worked out in Davie, a league source said, and Howard Balzer reported that Florida A&M’s Brian Tyms did as well.
As for the tough choices they face with Brian Hartline and David Garrard, the Dolphins could be helped by a change in league rules. Neither has played this entire preseason because of injuries, and both appear to be eligible for a new rule allowing players placed on injured reserve by the start of the season to return after six weeks.
Hartline has not practiced in more than a month because of a calf injury. Garrard underwent knee surgery three weeks ago, costing him a shot at the Dolphins’ starting quarterback job. There has been a growing assumption that Garrard might be one of the 22 players released by Friday’s deadline, as his $2.25 million salary is too rich a luxury for a third-string quarterback. But with Matt Moore’s struggles this preseason and word Thursday that Garrard’s rehab has progressed, that assumption might need revision.
“Great day of workouts today,” Garrard tweeted Thursday. “Some field work and throwing.”
If Garrard remains on the roster when the season begins, the Dolphins would owe him his entire salary. Any thought of cutting him and bringing him back when he’s fully healed — which would commit the Dolphins financially on only a game-by-game basis — might be a pipe dream.
Should Garrard shake free, he would be coveted by at least two other teams, a league source said, with quarterback-starved Arizona a logical destination.
• Multiple reports late Thursday night (including his own Facebook page) stated offensive lineman Ryan Cook has been traded to the Cowboys. It is believed Miami received a seventh-round pick in return.
Miami Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.