The Dolphins have claimed and been awarded running back Steve Slaton off waivers from the Houston Texans.
The team assumes the remaining portion of running back''s $1.2 million salary. And now it gets interesting in the backfield.
Slaton comes to the Dolphins from a team that had a crowded stable of runners. The Dolphins have a crowded stable also. But only one of those players -- rookie Daniel Thomas -- is so far producing to satisfactory levels.
The same cannot be said of primary back and starter Reggie Bush, who has only 80 yards on 28 carries. Bush has also been nursing a tender groin.
Slaton comes to the Dolphins in his fourth NFL season. His best year was 2008 when he gained 1,282 yards and averaged 4.8 yards a carry in 16 games. It hasn't been nearly as good since.
In 2009 his production dropped to only 437 yards and a 3.3 average in 11 games and then he had only 93 yards on 19 carries all of last season. That season, Slaton fumbled four times in four games early in the season, leading to his limited use. He worked his way back into good graces but then on Dec. 9 sustained a shoulder injury and was placed on injured reserve.
The Texans have Arian Foster, the NFL rushing champion from a year ago, and Ben Tate in their backfield so Slaton was expendable. This year Slaton had 20 yards on seven carries, a 2.9 average.
The Dolphins are clearly searching for talent at running back since parting ways with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Earlier this year they signed, cut, signed and cut again running back Larry Johnson.
They've also worked out players such as Clinton Portis and Tiki Barber. No, none of this means Slaton will compete for the starting job.
It is not yet clear whom the Dolphins will cut.
List of candidates: Will Yeatman (they can always put him on practice squad), Nate Jones, Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore, Ikaika Alama-Francis, Ryan Baker, or, yes, Phillip Merling. This is just speculation on my part. Just stirrin' [poopie], as I was told by someone within the organization today.
[Yup, yet another update: The unlucky player cut is Ryan Baker. Good guy. Tough guy.]