The Miami Dolphins have acquired their first two players of the 2011 offseason, re-signing quarterback Tom Brandstater and offensive tackle James Marten to future deals.
Both Brandstater and Marten finished the 2010 season on the team's practice squad, and those players are often re-signed a few days after the season ends. There is no word yet on whether any of the other five players from the Dolphins' practice squad have been re-signed.
A third-year player out of Fresno State, Brandstater spent his 2009 rookie season as the Broncos' third-string quarterback after being selected by the team in the sixth round of the draft.
Brandstater was waived the following offseason and joined the Indianapolis Colts, where he lost the battle for the backup job beyond Peyton Manning to Curtis Painter. The Dolphins signed Brandstater to the practice squad in November after injuries to Chad Pennington and Chad Henne.
Brandstater will continue to wear No. 3 with the Dolphins and gives the team a second quarterback under contract along with Henne. Both Pennington and Tyler Thigpen are unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Marten will wear No.71 with the Dolphins, as he did after signing to the practice squad in December. The former third-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2007 spent 2008 with the Oakland Raiders and much of the past two seasons on the Chicago Bears' practice squad.
With the two signings, the Dolphins now have 52 players under contract in 2011, not including 16 players that will become free agents this offseason.
Don't read too much into these signings, because every NFL team re-signed most or all of their practice squad players almost immediately after their season ends.
Such players will battle just to make it to training camp with the Dolphins in 2011, which is something that's far from a guarantee.
Brandstater has good size (6-5, 223) and a big arm but lacks NFL experience. He's an intriguing developmental prospect and could have a chance to battle for the Dolphins' third-string job in 2011, although he will likely have one or two more quarterback additions to compete with. His upside is unknown.
Marten, meanwhile, has Jake Long size at 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds but doesn't possess any of the Dolphins' franchise left tackle's talent unfortunately.
Marten has tried and failed to impress at both guard and tackle in the NFL—absolutely failing to live up to his status as a third-round pick with just one game played over four seasons with four different teams.
Marten will have to battle Matt Kopa, Lydon Murtha, Allen Barbre, and potentially others for a backup tackle spot on the Dolphins' roster in 2011. Right now, I'd consider him a very long shot to do so.
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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