Dustin Keller signs with Miami Dolphins
Prior to missing eight games to injury last season, Dustin Keller had established himself as one of the more reliable tight ends in football. He made at least 45 catches every season from 2008-11 and topped out with 65 grabs in ’11.
The Dolphins would be more than happy with that type of production, hence their signing of Keller to a one-year deal on Friday.
Keller will replace Anthony Fasano as the Dolphins’ No. 1 tight end — Fasano signed with the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this week. QB Ryan Tannehill ought to be fine with that transition, given that Fasano averaged a pitiful 8.1 yards on his 41 catches last season; Fasano also had never made more than 39 grabs prior to 2012.
Miami made no secret of its desire to upgrade at tight end, either, using a third-round pick in last year’s draft on Michael Egnew. The Missouri product was a massive disappointment, though, and was not even active for a game until late in the season. He made no catches during his rookie campaign.
So, barring an offseason breakthrough from Egnew, Keller will pair with the versatile Charles Clay as Miami’s top two tight ends. Keller’s arrival and Mike Wallace’s recent signing substantially increases the talent around Tannehill, putting more pressure on the young QB to deliver.
Keller might do wonders for Tannehill’s progression. He caught 28 of the 36 passes thrown his way last season for a sparkling 77.8 percent catch rate, per Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins certainly can use that kind of a reliable target.
Grade: A-minus. This sort of falls at the opposite end of the spectrum from the splashy, high-priced Wallace move. Picking up Keller is a savvy move, especially on a one-year, “Prove it”-type of deal. The talented tight end should be plenty motivated to perform.