Friday, November 28, 2008

Bengals Sign OT Kirk Barton Off Dolphins' Practice Squad

The Dolphins lost one of their practice squad players today as offensive tackle Kirk Barton was signed to the active roster of the Cincinnati Bengals. Barton was added by the Bengals for depth after offensive linemen Scott Kooistra and Andrew Whitworth were placed on injured reserve.

Background

An All-Big Ten selection at Ohio State, Kirk Barton was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He made the team following the preseason but was waived just one game into the regular season to make room for veteran tackle Fred Miller.

Barton was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 11 when tight end Sean Ryan was released. He was inactive every game with the Dolphins until being waived on Oct. 16 to make room for fullback Lousaka Polite.

The San Francisco 49ers claimed Barton off waivers but he did not see game action before being waived once again on Nov. 9. The Dolphins re-signed him to the practice squad two days later.

In Cincinnati, Barton joins the fourth franchise of his young career. Because he was signed directly off another team's practice squad, he must remain on the Bengals' active roster for at least three weeks. He will wear No. 70.

Analysis

Barton was a solid lineman in college but doesn't have great physical tools at the pro level. I still think he might be a better fit at guard and it wouldn't surprise me to see him moved there eventually.

From the Dolphins' perspective this is not a huge loss. Barton is a fine prospect and was good to have on the practice squad given his previous stint with the team earlier in the season, but he wasn't vital to any long-term plans and can easily be replaced.

When looking at potential replacements for Barton on the practice squad, the only recently-released Dolphin still available is cornerback Will Billingsley. (Defensive tackle Anthony Toribio has joined Green Bay's practice squad and tight end Matthew Mulligan has joined Tennessee's).

However, the team now has no offensive linemen on the practice squad and might want to add another one to replace Barton. There aren't any likely candidates from the team's training camp roster (Mike Byrne is in the CFL while Daren Heerspink, Pedro Sosa and Matt Spanos have been out of football) which means any lineman Miami signs to the practice squad will likely be a fresh face.