The Miami Dolphins signed free agent Griff Whalen on Friday, the team announced. Whalen. 26, was released by the Indianapolis Colts in January after placing him on injured reserve with broken ribs late in the season. He spent his first four years in the league with the Colts.
Signed initially as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford, joining his Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Whalen (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) spent his rookie season on injured reserve after breaking his foot at the end of the preseason. In 2013, he appeared in nine games, with three starts, catching 24 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He then played in 10 games in 2014, primarily on special teams, catching two passes for 23 yards on the season. Last year, in 14 games played, Whalen caught 19 passes for 205 yards with a touchdown.
Whalen has returned 46 punts in his career with an 8.2 yards per return average, as well as 25 kicks with a 25.8 yards per return average.
Whalen was the player under center in the Colts' failed trick play against the New England Patriots in October. On a 4th-and-3 play, the Colts lined up to punt, then tried to confuse the Patriots by running a swinging-gate type of play, with the entire team moving to the right side of the field, leaving just a center and quarterback in the middle of the field. Whalen, as the quarterback on the play, was to call signals and try to get the Patriots to jump offsides, but the ball was snapped to him and the Patriots, who did not over-react to the switch, immediately sacked him.
The Dolphins will look to Whalen to provide depth at the receiver position, likely competing for the fourth wide receiver slot behind Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills. Currently, Matt Hazel is expected to hold that fourth position. Whalen could also be considered to take over the primary returner position for the team, where it is likely the Dolphins would like to take away that responsibility from Landry.