The pipeline between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins is as strong as ever, as the Dolphins have signed former Cowboys offensive tackle Marc Colombo to an undisclosed contract.
Colombo has experience with both Dolphins' general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano from their time in Dallas.
The addition gives the Dolphins 81 players on their expanded 90-man training camp roster.
A two-year starter at Boston College, Colombo earned All-Big-East honors during his senior season in 2001 after helping the Eagles amass more than 4,000 yards of offense.
The massive 6'8", 315-pound Colombo was selected 29th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2002 NFL Draft and appeared in 10 games (five starts) as a rookie before a gruesome knee injury landed him on injured reserve.
Colombo began the following season on the PUP list as he continued to recover and failed to see game action that season. He also missed significant time in 2004 on the PUP list, appearing in eight games with two starts.
After appearing in just one game for the Bears in 2005, Colombo was waived and spent nearly two months out of football before being signed by the Cowboys and playing in four games with zero starts that season.
Finally able to stay healthy, Colombo started all 48 possible games for the Cowboys between the 2006 and 2008 seasons and helped the team put together some of the best statistical performances in franchise history.
In late December, he signed a $22-million contract extension with $11.5 million guaranteed through the 2012 season.
Colombo suffered yet another significant injury in 2009, as a broken fibula limited him to just nine games, but he returned to start 15 games for the Cowboys in 2010. He was released as a cap casualty on July 28, 2011.
Assuming Colombo came fairly cheaply here, this isn't a bad signing for the Dolphins because it provides a talented and experienced NFL offensive tackle with which the Dolphins front office and staff has some familiarity.
That being said, it's hard to figure out just what kind of role Colombo will have with the Dolphins, considering there isn't necessarily a hole at tackle and the interior is much more of a concern. (Hence the Shaun O'Hara interest.)
As I see it, there are two options for Colombo's purpose in Miami:
- That he is being signed merely for veteran depth and will compete for a backup roster spot, but not be guaranteed a spot given his age and durability concerns
- That he is being signed as a potential less-expensive starter at right tackle, which would allow the Dolphins to part ways with Vernon Carey, who seems to be regressing himself and carries a massive $7-million cap hit
As surprising as it might seem that the team could replace Carey, it's important to remember that he has a pretty hefty contract, finished last season on injured reserve and seems to be adding weight and losing athleticism in recent seasons.
That being said, this is purely speculation on my part, and the reality is that while Colombo might help the Dolphins save money at right tackle, he also represents a downgrade from Carey.
While Colombo was predominantly healthy with the Cowboys after a rough stint with the Bears, he's experienced some significant injuries in his career. His durability has to be a concern at age 32.
Colombo is also coming off his worst pro season, having allowed 9.5 sacks with the Cowboys in 2010.
Put into perspective, the Dolphins' Jake Long, Vernon Carey and Lydon Murtha allowed a combined 11 sacks last season in one more game than Colombo.
I'm glad the Dolphins are addressing the offensive line and acquiring depth, but I also hope the team isn't resigned to roll with Colombo as a starter simply for the sake of saving some cash.
As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
Discuss this article on the forum here!
Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.