The Miami Dolphins wasted little time filling out their quarterback depth with injuries to Chad Pennington and Chad Henne, signing veteran free-agent Patrick Ramsey to the active roster and second-year player Tom Brandstater to the practice squad.
Pennington, who is likely headed for his fourth and possibly career-ending shoulder surgery, was placed on season-ending injured reserve to make room for Ramsey.
The injury to Henne's knee does not appear to be as severe, as he remains on the active roster and is walking without crutches. He would not officially rule himself out for Thursday's contest against the Bears although it seems unlikely he will be able to play.
If Henne cannot go, Ramsey looks to be the only active backup behind third-stringer-turned-starter Tyler Thigpen.
Ramsey and Brandstater earned their contracts after a Monday workout that also featured Arena quarterback Tommy Grady, journeyman J. T. O'Sullivan, and former first-overall pick JaMarcus Russell.
No corresponding practice squad move to make room for Brandstater has been announced at this time, although that news should come Tuesday.
A star quarterback at Tulane, Ramsey (6-3, 225) was selected by the Washington Redskins with the final pick of the third round in 2002 NFL Draft.
Ramsey was in and out of the starting line-up in his first two seasons under Redskins' head coach Steve Spurrier. He started a career-high 11 games in 2003, throwing for 2,166 yards and 14 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
When Joe Gibbs returned as the Redskins' head coach in 2004, Ramsey gave way to veteran Mark Brunell for much of the following two seasons. He was named the team's starter in 2005, but suffered a neck injury in the season opener and appeared in only four games as Brunell's backup that year.
Dealt to the New York Jets for a sixth-round pick in the 2006 off-season, Ramsey was ironically acquired to back up then-Jets starter Chad Pennington. He appeared in one game and threw only one pass before being released the following offseason.
Ramsey then spent two seasons as a back-up to Jay Cutler in Denver, appearing in two games and throwing one touchdown pass in a 2007 game for the Broncos.
Released once again in 2009, Ramsey signed with the Tennessee Titans and and served as the third-string quarterback behind Vince Young and Kerry Collins for the first month of the season before he was cut loose. Ramsey later spent a brief time at the end of the season with the Detroit Lions after Matthew Stafford was injured.
Ramsey was signed by the New Orleans Saints in 2010 to back up Drew Brees, but lost out on the job to Chase Daniel and was released on Sept. 3. He spent a brief time with the Jaguars in October, but was released upon the acquisition of Trent Edwards.
Financial terms of Ramsey's deal with the Dolphins have not yet been released, but he likely signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.
A three-year starter at Fresno State, Brandstater (6-5, 223) led the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record in 2007 and earned the MVP award in a Humanitarian Bowl win over Georgia Tech. As a senior in 2008 he set career highs with 2,664 passing yards and 18 touchdowns.
Brandstater was selected by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, spending his entire rookie season as the team's third-string quarterback behind Kyle Orton and Chris Simms.
Upon the acquisitions of Brandy Quinn via trade and Tim Tebow in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Broncos waived Brandstater on June 4th.
The Indianapolis Colts claimed Brandstater off waivers, allowing him to compete for the back-up job to Peyton Manning with fellow 2009 sixth-rounder Curtis Painter. Despite throwing three touchdowns in the preseason finale, Brandstater was waived during final cuts. He spent the first month of the season on the team's practice squad before being released.
As a practice squad player, Brandstater will make roughly $5,200 per week. He will not be eligible to play in games, but can be signed to the active roster at any time.
Neither addition here is a sexy name, but obviously there aren't really any Peyton Mannings on the free agent market at this point in time.
With only one healthy quarterback heading into Thursday's game, the Dolphins simply needed some kind of veteran depth on the team if worst comes to worst.
If Henne is unavailable and Thigpen does go down as the starter against the Bears, you can be sure the Dolphins are in serious trouble. Ramsey has a good bit of NFL experience, but he's absolutely not starter material and is actually closer to being out of the league entirely.
Brandstater, while possessing more upside than Ramsey as a younger, developmental prospect, will merely be tasked with being a third healthy arm and scout-team quarterback in practice for the time being.
It's entirely possible Brandstater would be released if Henne were able to return healthy, although there is always a chance he could impress the staff to keep him around as the third-stringer.
While Ramsey is essentially a lock to be one-and-done in Miami, Brandstater at least has enough room to grow to where he could be re-signed this off-season as a team's third quarterback behind Henne and Thigpen in 2011—especially since Pennington's career might be coming to an end.
As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.