Officially out of the playoffs for two weeks now and coming off back-to-back home losses to sub-.500 teams, the Miami Dolphins have begun planning for 2011 by releasing two veterans and signing two others.
The Miami Dolphins waived wide receiver Kevin Curtis and center Eric Ghiaciuc on Tuesday, while signing two former Green Bay Packers in offensive lineman Allen Barbre and linebacker Mike Rivera.
Ghiaciuc was signed in November after an injury to starting center Joe Berger, although he was inactive in his five games with the team.
Meanwhile, Curtis' tenure with the Dolphins lasted just two games in which he had one catch for six yards and one rushing attempt for six yards. Curtis had sat out most of the 2010 season after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous testicle in September.
The moves leave the Dolphins with a full 53-man roster heading into their regular season finale Sunday at New England.
Barbre (pronounced BAR-ber) played college football at Missouri Southern State, where he was a four-year starter at left tackle and was a consensus Division II All-American selection after his senior season in 2006.
The first player from his college invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, Barbre was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round (112th overall). He appeared in seven games as a rookie, working at left guard and right tackle.
Barbre spent 2008 primarily working on special teams, appearing in eight games (no starts) and occasionally filling in as an injury replacement at left guard.
After earning the Packers' starting right tackle job in 2009 over Breno Giacomini, Barbre opened the Packers' first seven games before an ankle injury sidelined him for the next two. He went on to play in just three more games that season, starting none.
Barbre was placed on injured reserve and released with an injury settlement following final cuts in September 2010. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 28 and appeared in three contests as a reserve before his release on Nov. 23.
Barbre, who originally worked out for the Dolphins in early December, will wear No. 73 with the Dolphins. It is unclear if he will focus on guard or tackle.
A Kansas native, Rivera played college football close to home with the Jayhawks. He spent his first season redshirting in 2004 and recorded 20 tackles on special teams as a second-year freshman in 2005.
Rivera earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore, leading the Jayhawks with 90 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
An honorable mention All-Big 12 again in 2007, Rivera totaled 96 tackles (10.5 for a loss), three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 11 games.
Rivera closed out his collegiate career with his third straight honorable mention all-conference honor, recording 93 tackles, two sacks, and four forced fumbles.
After going undrafted in 2009, Rivera signed with the Chicago Bears and totaled 10 tackles during the preseason before being waived during final cuts.
Rivera was signed to the Tennessee Titans' practice squad to begin the 2009 season and remained there through the end of the year. He was re-signed in 2010 and appeared in three preseason games before landing on injured reserve. He was released prior to the beginning of the regular season.
The Packers signed Rivera to the practice squad on Oct. 13, where he remained until being signed to the Dolphins active roster on Tuesday.
He will wear No. 57 for the Dolphins and work at inside linebacker in the team's 3-4 scheme, as well as on special teams.
It's no surprise to see Ghiaciuc released, and I'm actually surprised it didn't happen sooner. He's been terrible in his NFL career and has reached journeyman status, so he was no longer needed now that the Dolphins are healthy at center with Joe Berger and Richie Incognito.
It is, however, a bit surprising to see Kevin Curtis cut, especially since he'd played in both games since being signed by the Dolphins. The team may not have felt like he had enough left to warrant a new contract in 2010, so they opted to let him go now instead of waiting until the offseason.
The Dolphins will once again roll with Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace as their third and fourth receivers, although they should face heavy competition for roster spots in 2011.
The scouting report on Barbre is pretty negative, as he's failed miserably at both guard and tackle. He comes from a small school and has a good work ethic and technique, but he lacks elite strength for the guard spot and also has trouble with bull rushers on the edge.
Meanwhile, Rivera profiles as a prototypical 3-4 inside linebacker at 6'2" and 252 pounds, though he'll focus primarily on special teams as long as he's in Miami.
Obviously neither of these players is a very interesting signing, though I'm curious to see if they got two-year deals. That would mean they were signed to be brought back in 2011 where they'd compete for roster spots in the offseason and training camp if they made it that far.
As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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