With starting right tackle Vernon Carey nursing a knee injury and questionable for this week's game against the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins have signed free agent offensive tackle James Marten to their practice squad.
The move, which officially occurred Wednesday, fills an open practice squad spot vacated when guard Ray Feinga was promoted to the active roster yesterday.
Offensive coordinator Dan Henning spoke Thursday as if Carey may very well be out against the Jets, and this move provides the Dolphins with tackle depth in their practices leading up to the game.
Lydon Murtha and rookie guard (and former college tackle) John Jerry appear to be the most likely candidates to start in Carey's place if he cannot go, with Pat McQuistan starting in Jerry's old right guard spot.
An Indianapolis native, Marten played college football at Boston College. He began his career at right tackle before becoming a three-year starter for the Eagles, including two seasons as a left guard and his All-ACC senior campaign at left tackle.
Marten was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft, but was inactive for every game his rookie season. He was waived by the team before the 2008 regular season.
The Oakland Raiders claimed Marten off waivers from the Cowboys on Sept. 8, beating out the Chicago Bears due to waiver priority. Marten worked primarily at right tackle for the Raiders, appearing in one game as a reserve against the Buffalo Bills but otherwise being inactive.
Oakland waived Marten during final cuts in 2009, and he was then signed to the Bears' practice squad. He remained there until being promoted to the active roster on Dec. 14, although he did not appear in a game that season.
Marten failed to make the Bears' active roster in 2010 and was once again relegated to the practice squad. He remained there until his release on Dec. 7.
Marten is the latest in a long line of former Dallas Cowboys to join the Dolphins, joining fellow Dolphins linemen Joe Berger and Pat McQuistan.
It's no surprise to see Marten land in Miami, as he was drafted by the Cowboys' staff that featured Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland in the front office and Tony Sparano as the team's offensive line coach.
Marten's addition gives the Dolphins some depth at tackle with Vernon Carey injured and John Jerry still getting reacquainted with the position. Personally, I'd prefer Jerry stay at right guard so he can continue to develop and have McQuistan play right tackle in Carey's place.
A 6-foot-8 former third-round pick, Marten joins the Dolphins with a bit more upside than your typical practice squad body. He was a versatile and highly productive lineman in college and is a natural right tackle with his size and athleticism.
Obviously, his career thus far has been a disappointment. In four pro seasons, Marten has appeared in just one game with no starts and has been limited to practice squads for most of the last two years. Not exactly what you expect in a third-round pick, to be sure.
Marten has some familiarity with the Dolphins' staff and obviously had some potential to make him such a high draft pick, but his career has been pretty uninspiring to date and he seems like a long shot to ever develop into a contributor.
If he can survive on the practice squad until season's end, he could certainly be a candidate to be re-signed in 2011 and brought back to compete for a reserve tackle spot.
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.
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