We all knew that the Dolphins had some tough decisions to make between now and the weekend's final cuts. On Tuesday, the Dolphins made one of those decisions.
The team formally announced that they have placed offensive lineman Nate Garner on Injured Reserve, ending his season. Garner was attempting to recover from a foot injury that he aggravated in camp following offseason surgery. He reportedly underwent another procedure on that foot a couple weeks back and was not expected to be healthy until early October at the earliest.
But after weighing the options, the Dolphins decided that they could not waste a roster spot for at least a month on an injured player - no matter just how valuable of a backup he might be. Garner was Miami's most versatile offensive lineman. He has taken regular season snaps at every position along the line except left tackle. In camp, Garner was working as Vernon Carey's backup at right tackle while also competing for a starting spot at both guard positions.
Garner's loss is a big one. He was expected, at the very least, to be the primary backup right tackle. Now the Dolphins have to settle on either Lydon Murtha or Andrew Gardner as the third tackle to keep on the final roster. Of course, the Dolphins could look to the waiver wire once other teams make their cuts to find an upgrade rather than simply settling on one of those two.
What today's move by the Dolphins could mean, though, is that they may only keep eight offensive linemen on the roster, freeing up a roster spot at another position. It also means that one of the bubble linemen - Cory Procter, for example - could make the team if the Dolphins decide to still go with nine linemen.