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Miami Dolphins Claim Defensive Tackle Recently Waived by Patriots

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However, the acquisition of Bruce Gaston off waivers likely was not motivated by the desire to get information about the Patriots defense, as I'll explain below

Gaston is more likely to have in-depth information about the Cardinals than the Patriots
Gaston is more likely to have in-depth information about the Cardinals than the Patriots
Stephen Dunn

ESPN reporter Field Yates today broke the news that the Dolphins had been granted undrafted rookie defensive tackle Bruce Gaston off waivers. To make room on the roster for Gaston, the Dolphins waived safety Brandian Ross. Ross, as I mentioned in my editorial advocating that the Dolphins re-sign former safety Chris Clemons, was rated as the second worst safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus last year while playing for the Oakland Raiders, and he lasted only 3 days before being waived by the Dolphins.

While it's true that the team that waived Gaston was the Patriots, it's unlikely the Dolphins claimed him off waivers to give the Dolphins' coaches a chance to interrogate him about the Patriots' defense. The reason is that Gaston had only been a member of the Patriots for roughly 48 hours. He was claimed off waivers on Sunday afternoon by the Patriots after he spent the entire offseason up to that point on the Arizona Cardinals roster prior to being waived. Gaston joined the Patriots on Monday (3 days ago), then he was waived on Wednesday (yesterday). That sequence of events doesn't give him much time to learn about the Patriots' defense unless he's a savant who learned the entire Patriots defensive playbook in under 2 days.

It's also unlikely the Patriots would have waived him if they had already clued him in on their specific gameplan against the Dolphins. Otherwise, they easily could have kept him on their roster until later this week. What's more likely is that his practice sessions were more of a "tryout" than him being trained specifically to play against the Dolphins since he was unlikely to be active on gameday so quickly after joining a new team. Given his limited time as a Patriot, he's far from the ideal Patriots castoff to claim if the goal is to get information about either the Patriots' offense or the defense. Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey's goal was to acquire playbook details, he could have pursued a Patriot player who had spent months on their roster, like most members of their practice squad, rather than a guy who was on the team for barely 2 days.

As for Gaston - he's a former player at Purdue who went undrafted despite being given a late round grade by some. He's viewed as a potential backup defensive tackle in a 4-3 who can eat up blocks but has limited pass rush potential due to his lack of elite agility or explosiveness. While fellow undrafted rookie defensive tackle Anthony Johnson made the Dolphins' 53-man roster, the Dolphins likely felt it was worth looking for upgrades if they happen to be available over the waiver wire as part of the regular "churning" of the bottom of the roster that goes on every year. Johnson played pretty well in preseason, and he was only waived by the Cardinals to make room for veteran defensive lineman Tommy Kelly. If Kelly hadn't become a free agent after being cut by the Patriots, Gaston likely would have made the Cardinals roster as a 3-4 DE.

Last but not least, in wake of this transaction by the Dolphins, fans who have been arguing that claiming players off waivers should be considered "cheating" should probably stop making that claim...