A week after practice squad offensive lineman Kirk Barton was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals, the Miami Dolphins have lost another player to a team's active roster. The New Orleans Saints signed linebacker Rob Ninkovich to their active roster today in an effort to replace recently-suspended defensive end Will Smith.
A fifth-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2006, Ninkovich spent most of his rookie season on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL early in the regular season. Another knee injury forced him to miss the following preseason and the Saints eventually waived him prior to the 2007 regular season.
Ninkovich was then claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins. He saw action in four games, recording two tackles, while being inactive for 12 others.
Despite leading the team with two sacks in the 2008 preseason, Ninkovich was waived on Aug. 31 and re-signed to the practice squad. He was eventually promoted to the active roster on Nov. 15 when guard Matt McChesney was placed on injured reserve. Ninkovich played special teams against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 16 but did not record any tackles. He was waived on Nov. 20 when linebacker Erik Walden was signed. The Dolphins subsequently re-signed him to the practice squad.
I liked Nink's potential as a backup outside linebacker in the 3-4 (or defensive end in the 4-3), but this isn't a huge loss for the Dolphins. Barring an outburst in play with New Orleans, Ninkovich will probably be available at some point this season or next so the Dolphins will be able to get him back down the road if they want.
The Dolphins now have an open spot on the practice squad as well as one on the active roster, as guard Justin Smiley was predictably placed on injured reserve yesterday. As always, you can check out my updated projected depth chart at the top of the site.