Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dolphins cut safety Crocker, re-sign Culver ... practice squad tidbits

The Dolphins deemed another one of their 2008 free agent signings expendable today, cutting sixth-year safety Chris Crocker and re-signing safety Tyrone Culver. As a vested veteran, Crocker will receive his full base salary for the season.

Background

A third-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns out of Marshall in 2003, Crocker played three years for the Browns and the last two with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Dolphins signed Crocker to a one-year, $1.15-million contract on March 29, 2008. Battling with veteran Renaldo Hill (recovering from a torn ACL) and first-round bust Jason Allen, Crocker earned the Dolphins' starting free safety job following the preseason.

Crocker started the first two games of the season but did not perform well. The Dolphins lost both games, and Crocker was the man out of position on Anquan Boldin's 79-yard touchdown on the Cardinals' first drive in Week Two.

Crocker ends his Dolphins tenure with six games played (two starts), ten tackles and a pass deflection.

Replacing Crocker on the Dolphins' roster is third-year safety Tyrone Culver. The 25-year-old Culver enters his second tenure of the season with Miami, having originally joined the team on September 2.

Culver appeared in five games for the Dolphins during his first stint, amassing five tackles. He was waived on October 14 to make room for safety Brannon Condren. Once again, Culver with don No. 29 for the Dolphins.

Analysis

It would be a lie to say this move is surprising in any way. Crocker was a bust as a starting free safety, while Renaldo Hill is fully recovered from his torn ACL and clearly the better player on defense.

Meanwhile, Jason Allen and the re-added Culver are both much bigger contributors on special teams than Crocker, adding to his expendability. He could be brought back in the event of injury to Hill or Allen, but he almost certainly has no long-term future in Miami.

Crocker's release hardly warrants any criticism toward the front office. He was never viewed as a long-term starter, but rather an just experienced player brought in to compete with a recovering vet and a bust. It didn't work out, but it's not a significant failure.

Practice squad tidbits

For the fourth time this young season, the Dolphins have swapped cornerback Will Billingsley and defensive tackle Anthony Toribio on the practice squad.

Toribio re-joined the practice squad on October 18, coinciding with defensive tackle Paul Soliai's one-game suspension. With Jason Ferguson banged up following the Ravens game and Soliai recently in the doghouse, Toribio should be slightly more secure for the time being.

Also, recently signed linebacker William Kershaw is wearing No. 58, which had been worn by linebacker Tyson Smith on the practice squad earlier in the season and currently IR'd linebacker Kelvin Smith before that.