The Miami Dolphins have re-signed reserve offensive lineman Nate Garner to an undisclosed contract. Garner has served as a primary backup at all five o-line positions for the Dolphins, and has appeared in games in all of them, including as a tight end in the Wildcat formation.
Last year, Garner moved into the starting lineup at right tackle when Jake Long was injured and Jonathan Martin moved to left tackle. He has also started games at right tackle and left guard in his career.
"We are happy that Nate has reached an agreement to stay with the team," said Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said of the signing. "He is a respected and versatile player along the offensive line and we are glad to have him back."
Garner was originally drafted in the seventh round in 2008 by the New York Jets. He was waived at the end of training camp and claimed by the Dolphins, spending the season on the 53-man roster, but inactive for all 16 games and the AFC Wildcard game that year. Since 2009, Garner has appeared in 48 games for Miami, missing the entire 2010 season after breaking his foot in training camp.
"There were a few other teams involved but I wanted to stay here," said Garner in a conference call after re-signing. "I've got a house here, this is where I've been the last five years, I'm very comfortable here and I love the coaching staff so I'm glad to be back. I think we're going in the right direction and I'm looking forward to seeing how we do this year with all the moves we made."
The Dolphins are thought to look at Garner in the same role he's had for the past four seasons - a reserve, versatile lineman who can step in and start when needed. The team will likely continue to look at free agent tackles to replace Long who left this offseason for the St. Louis Rams, or could select one in April's NFL Draft.