Two days after Brian Hartline and Davone Bess became the first pair of Dolphins receivers to notch 100 or more yards in the same game since 2001, the team added depth to a once-maligned corps by signing veteran wideout Jabar Gaffney.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Gaffney should give blossoming rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill a dependable third option, something he’s lacked with underachieving receiver Legedu Naanee, a free-agent signing that didn’t pan out.
Naanee was released Tuesday after his only catch as a Dolphin resulted in an unforced fumble in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-21 overtime loss to Arizona.
“It seemed like a good fit, and they wanted me,’’ said Gaffney, 31, who had a career-high 68 catches for 947 yards along with five touchdowns last season with Washington. “That’s why I’m here. I’m looking forward to coming down here and fitting in.’’
Gaffney, a former University of Florida standout, was drafted in the second round by the Texans in 2002 where he played for four seasons. He played for the Patriots from 2006-08, where he was part of their 16-0 season (and Denver from 2009-10).
“Coach [Bill Belichick] would always preach how tough [the Dolphins] are, especially the defense. Now that I’m here … it’s good to be on this side. … They spread it around. Lot of chances for big plays.’’
Gaffney has been durable, playing all 16 games in every one of his 10 seasons except 2006, while averaging 48 catches and 608 yards in those healthy years.
“The more weapons you have, the better,’’ said Hartline, who had a franchise-record 253 yards Sunday and leads the NFL with 455 yards.
Bess, who had a career-high 123 yards Sunday and is second in the NFL with 142 third-down yards, welcomes Gaffney’s experience.
“We need to do a great job at winning the matchups and obviously, week in and week out the defenses are going to start trying to take guys away and you need everybody to show up,’’ Bess said.
Gaffney wasn’t part of the Redskins’ youth movement and was cut by the Patriots early in preseason after sustaining a quadriceps injury in practice. After releasing Chad Johnson, the Dolphins gave Gaffney a tryout before the first regular-season game, however, he was still gimpy.
He has been rehabilitating and waiting by the phone in Boston when he got the call on Monday.
“Jabar had a great experience up there when he was in New England and he certainly knows how to practice and prepare,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. “We’re excited about the culture that he’s coming from and think it’ll be a smooth transition for him.’’
Because he played in a similar West Coast offense with Washington, Gaffney expects to play Sunday.
Reserve receiver Anthony Armstrong played with Gaffney last season.
“The guy’s really consistent; he’ll be where he’s supposed to be and make the catches that he has to make; be able to help move the chains and improve our third-down [percentage],’’ Armstrong said.
Dolphins make roster moves
The Dolphins waived rarely used defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, and waived linebacker Mike Rivera with an injury settlement.
Fluellen’s release indicates that defensive lineman Tony McDaniel (knee) will return to practice this week.
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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