Thursday, September 11, 2008

OT Barton claimed from Bears, TE Ryan released

The Dolphins added more depth to their offensive line today, claiming rookie offensive tackle Kirk Barton off waivers from the Chicago Bears. To make room for Barton on the roster, the team released tight end Sean Ryan.

Sean Ryan

A fifth-round pick by the Cowboys out of Boston College in 2004, Ryan played two seasons in Dallas before being traded to the New York Jets prior to the 2006 season. He played for the Jets through the 2007 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2008. During his first four NFL seasons, Ryan played in 35 games and caught nine passes for 90 yards.

After being signed by the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in February, Ryan beat out Justin Peelle for the Dolphins' third tight end spot. He played in the team's season opener against the Jets on September 7.

Kirk Barton

The latest addition to the Dolphins' offensive line, Barton was drafted by the Bears in the seventh round (247th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. A first-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior in 2007, Barton was a four-year starter at right tackle for the Buckeyes.

Barton signed a four-year contract with the Bears on May 30. He made the team out of training camp and was serving as the Bears' backup right tackle behind starter John Tait. Barton made his NFL debut in a reserve role against the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener, but was waived this past week after the team re-signed veteran tackle Fred Miller.

The Dolphins were reportedly the only team to claim Barton, who likely would have been re-signed to the Bears' practice squad if he had cleared waivers. He will wear No. 76 for the Dolphins, which was worn by lineman Steve McKinney during the preseason.

Analysis

The loss of Ryan isn't much of a loss at all and it really isn't a move of any consequence. He's a pure blocking tight end who was the No. 3 guy behind David Martin and Anthony Fasano and therefore wasn't going to see much time on offense. Recent addition Casey Cramer also has tight end experience and would likely play on the line in three-tight end sets. Ryan could be brought back at a later date if needed.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Barton lacks elite athleticism, he's got good strength, intelligence and sound fundamentals and footwork. He may project as more of a No. 3 tackle than a starter.

Dolphins fans shouldn't get too excited about this addition, as Barton was on the roster bubble in Chicago and might not ever develop into a starter. To be honest, while he was serving as the backup right tackle in Chicago it would not surprise me one bit to see him shifted inside to guard. He might be more suited inside and as Nate Garner is currently backing up Vernon Carey at right tackle the move could give Barton a chance to compete at the right guard spot vacated by the injury Donald Thomas. It would not surprise me to see Barton backing up Evan Mathis, who I feel will eventually win the starting right guard job over Ike Ndukwe.