David Garrard will join the Miami Dolphins, likely becoming the 15th quarterback to start for the team since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweeted Monday evening that the former Jacksonville Jaguar informed him via text message of the signing. Garrard's agent later informed Scout.com that Garrard signed a one-year deal.
Garrard visited the Dolphins on Monday, and with a trip to St. Louis on his schedule (and the Dolphins' quarterback options dwindling by the hour), the team apparently did not want to wait for some other team to snatch up the free agent.
Garrard is quite literally the Dolphins' fourth choice at quarterback. The team was rejected by Plans A and B (Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, respectively). Alex Smith visited the team over the weekend when it looked like the San Francisco 49ers would allow him to walk in favor of a possible deal with Manning. Once the Broncos ended the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, though, the possibility of luring Smith away may have vanished.
Garrard is very clearly a stop-gap measure, and the team is punting on the possibility of finding a long-term solution at quarterback. Garrard turned 34 last month, which makes him practically ancient in the NFL. The Dolphins are probably going to either try and draft a developmental project in April, or hope a better free agent class in 2013 allows the team to solve its quarterback problem.
There is also a chance that Miami's front office may simply hope the team is bad enough in 2012 that it could secure the top pick in the 2013 draft and select USC quarterback Matt Barkley. However, no team would publicly admit to such a move, and that outcome is overly pessimistic even for the Dolphins.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2002 draft out of East Carolina, Garrard had spent his entire career in Jacksonville before the Jaguars cut him during training camp in 2011. In nine seasons with the Jaguars, Garrard threw for 16,003 yards, and completed 62 percent of his passes with 89 touchdowns against 54 interceptions.
He made the AFC Pro Bowl team in 2009 after throwing for 3,597 yards, but his production regressed in 2010. Jacksonville cut him just before the 2011 season, opting to go with first-round pick Blaine Gabbert instead. Garrard was set to sign a contract with the Oakland Raiders midseason, but a bulging disc in his neck required surgery, foiling his chances at playing in 2011.
So now the Dolphins will be able to play a quarterback coming off of neck surgery, only that quarterback is not named Peyton Manning. It used to be the toughest job in Miami was a Marlins ticket sales rep, but now that title belongs to the Dolphins' sales team.
There is a silver lining for Dolphins fans, though. Signing Garrard means the team will not make the ultimate error: trading for Tim Tebow.