This is another example of just how much the team's depth has improved over the last couple of seasons. When Matt Lehr was suspended a few years ago, the team signed a guy off the street (P.J. Alexander) and instantly started him because there were no game-worthy prospects in the organization. This season, three of our initial practice squad members have been promoted to our roster while three more have been signed to the rosters of other teams.
It's a bummer to lose Batiste, though. He was a solid prospect and would have been a likely candidate to make the roster next season. The team has replaced him on the practice squad by re-signing Michael Butterworth, the OT from Slippery Rock that we had signed for camp as an undrafted free agent. I'm not crazy about Butterworth's chances of making next year's team, but he would be a strong contender for the practice squad in 2009 and a shot at the roster in 2010.
We also added OG Nate Bennett to the practice squad last week, when Glenn Sharpe was promoted to the active roster. Bennett played for Clemson and spent about half the season on the practice squad of the Ravens. He's 6-4, 314. He doesn't have the experience of Batiste, but our coaches will at least get a few weeks to look him over and evaluate him as a potential prospect for next year.
Key note: practice squad players are all free agents at all times. Once they are signed/promoted, the new team holds their rights and can renew their contracts for camp the following season. So the odds are that we won't have a shot at getting Batiste or Brandon Miller back until their new teams make roster cuts next summer. But we protected our rights to Eric Brock, Glenn Sharpe, and Eric Weems by promoting them to the main roster as replacements for injured players.