Keller Injury A Setback For Dolphins Offense
One of Jeff Ireland's many free agent acquisitions this offseason, tight end Dustin Keller, suffered a gruesome knee injury that will cost him his 2013 season with the Miami Dolphins.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Keller tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and dislocated his knee. It came on a 2nd and 5 play in the second quarter of Miami's 24-17 preseason loss against the Houston Texans. Keller planted and was hit low by rookie safety D.J. Swearinger. His knee buckled in an unusual way and he immediately took his helmet off, rithing in extreme pain and needing a cart to be lifted from the field.
This is a sad injury for both the Miami Dolphins and Dustin Keller going forward.
The former Purdue tight end signed a one-year deal worth 4.5 million dollars with Miami this offseason, in hopes of having a productive year and then cashing in one last multi-year deal next March. Now he will be left looking for another one-year deal next March with a surgically repaired knee and two incomplete seasons in a row against him.
For Miami, Keller was expected to be a valuable piece of the Dolphins aerial attack. He was viewed as a potential favorite target for young Ryan Tannehill. The sixth year NFL veteran was going into his first campaign in South Florida. He played the first five years as a Jet and was a productive weapon for Mark Sanchez. Keller played in every game the first four years in New York, averaging 53 receptions a year, before an injury cut his 2012 season short and the team did not offer Keller a contract.
This injury will put Ireland's past draft classes under the microscope. He has drafted a tight end each of the last two seasons, using a third round pick on Michael Egnew in 2012 and a fourth round pick on rookie Dion Sims this past April. Charles Clay was taken in the 6th round of the 2011 draft and has had a positive impact the past two seasons with five touchdowns.
Egnew played in only two games last season and was rumored to be in trouble of making the roster this preseason. However, he may be safe due to the Keller injury. The Dolphins are left thin with tight end experience and Ireland may have to dip into the free agent pool if Egnew and Sims can not be productive these last few preseason games.
Saying this injury is devastating to Miami's revamped offense may be an understatement. Keller is a proven blocker and a productive pass catcher, hungry for a breakout year.
Injuries are a part of the brutal game of football. We will see how much this injury hampers Miami's offense the next few weeks before the games actually count beginning Sept. 8 in Cleveland.