Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Practice squad kicker Prater signed by Broncos

The Denver Broncos have signed placekicker Matt Prater off the practice squad of the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins now have an open spot on their practice squad.

Background

Prater, who played college football at Central Florida, was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He was simply a camp leg without any kind of shot at beating out Jason Hanson, and was released before the regular season.

The Dolphins signed Prater to a future contract in January 2007, but was the odd man out after Jay Feely was signed. He was released by the Dolphins on August 27 and subsequently signed with the Atlanta Falcons after Billy Cundiff lost his chance at the job.

Prater went just 1-for-4 on field goal attempts in two games with Atlanta, and was released by the team in favor of veteran Morten Andersen. He was re-signed to the Dolphins practice squad on November 14, where he remained through December 19 until he was signed to Denver's active roster.

Analysis

I'm surprised at this move from the Broncos perspective, simply because they now have three potential kickers and two kickoff guys on the active roster. When the team released punter Todd Sauerbrun yesterday, they re-signed punter/kicker Paul Ernster to handle punting duties. Now it seems they've signed Prater to kick off, though Ernster has handled these duties before and I don't know why they'd use up an extra roster spot for Prater.

From the Dolphins point of view, this is of little significance. Prater was likely only re-signed to the practice squad to give Feely breathers in practice and to work on special teams. With Feely's excellent performance in 2007 and Prater's poor job in Atlanta earlier this year, he had little future in Miami.

The Dolphins now how a vacancy on their practice squad. Check back here to find out when that vacancy is filled, plus info and analysis of the signing.