The Dolphins, as expected, poached a player off the waiver wire Sunday. But not one anybody expected.
Miami claimed former Cardinals quarterback Logan Thomas, an intriguing player who hasn’t done much as a professional and who doesn’t fill a need for the Dolphins.
Ryan Tannehill is the starter, and Matt Moore is still his backup. But Moore’s contract is up after the 2015 season, and the Dolphins could view Thomas as his long-term replacement.
“We like the talent that he has,” Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said. “Obviously, we’re excited about getting him in our building and starting to work with him. Once you get your hands on guys, you have a better feel for them. We like what we’ve seen, not only in preseason but going back to college and [are] looking forward to working with him.”
Thomas has thrown nine career passes and completed just one. But that pass went for an 81-yard touchdown. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 288 yards, one touchdown and one interception this preseason, yet Arizona cut him on Saturday.
He didn’t stay out of work long.
Thomas played collegiately at Virginia Tech, first as a backup to now-Bills starter Tyrod Taylor before taking over the top job as a redshirt sophomore. The Cardinals selected the 6-6, 250-pound dual-threat prospect in the fourth round of the 2014 draft.
“We like the skill-set, the size, the arm strength, the arm talent,” Hickey added. “We saw development from year one to year two. We’re always excited to get [players] with our coaches. They do such a great job of developing players, and [we’re] anxious to get them in that quarterback room with Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore and learn from those guys and get with our coaches.”
To make room for Thomas on the roster, the Dolphins placed running back Jay Ajayi on injured reserved with the designation to return.
Ajayi, who broke a rib in Thursday night’s preseason finale, is ineligible to practice for the next six weeks and cannot return to the active roster for eight weeks. Teams are allowed to designate one player for return each season.
Hickey called the decision to put Ajayi on short-term IR a “tough” one, but he did say the team expects the rookie running back to be ready after the eight weeks.
By swapping Ajayi for Thomas, the Dolphins remain with just 23 offensive players on their active roster.
However, their practice squad choices help fill in the depth. The team on Sunday signed eight players to its developmental squad who went through training camp with the club.
The biggest name: Sam Brenner, the versatile offensive lineman who has started four games for the Dolphins. Miami paid 33 percent more than any other team offered to keep Brenner.
Elsewhere, tight end Tim Semisch tweeted that he “will be staying in South Florida as a member of the Miami Dolphins Practice Squad,” while Jake Stoneburner simply sent out two Dolphins emojis, confirming he’s back, too.
Miami kept only two tight ends on its 53-man roster, but Semisch and Stoneburner give them the flexibility to activate a third one on game day if needed.
Safety Cedric Thompson (a fifth-round pick), linebacker Mike Hull, quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, defensive tackle DeAndre Coleman and offensive lineman Aundrey Walker also re-signed to the Dolphins’ practice squad.
Other interesting tidbits from Hickey’s Q&A with reporters:
▪ The Dolphins made the decision to go with Andrew Franks over Caleb Sturgis based “on a totality of work. One, we feel like he has an NFL-quality leg. We like the way he approaches the game and what he did for us. What he did for us in preseason games, practice and a lot of those things. Again, working with guys over a long period of time, we felt confident that Andrew Franks could do a good job for us.”
Franks wasn’t particularly accurate in college, but Hickey suggested that working with an NFL coaching staff should improve his production.
▪ Hickey said the team’s decision to keep seven cornerbacks was based on a desire to hoard “the best players. Especially at premium positions, if you have quality players at those positions, it’s a good problem to have. We felt like those guys earned it and they played well, and we’re excited about what they’re capable of.”
▪ When asked about Branden Albert’s Week 1 availability, Hickey said: “As we get closer, coach [Joe Philbin] and Branden will work that out, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”