The Indianapolis Colts made some roster moves today, releasing quarterback Josh Johnson and signing cornerback Shaun Prater to the active roster.
This is the second time in the past week that the Colts have signed Prater, as they brought him in last Tuesday, only to waive him on Friday in order to sign Johnson as a third quarterback. Prater was drafted by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Iowa, but he spent his rookie season on injured reserve before being waived after training camp the following year. The Eagles claimed him and he played briefly with them before once again being waived. The Vikings signed him this time, and he played with them in the second half of the 2013 season and in 2014. Then, obviously, he signed with the Colts last week, a few days later was waived, and now a few days later he has been re-signed. He has played in 19 career games (three starts) and has notched six tackles, seven passes defensed, an interception, and five special teams tackles.
The Colts have injuries at cornerback, which makes the signing very understandable. Greg Toler is making progress but still hasn't played since his neck injury, Jalil Brown suffered a groin injury on Sunday, and then Vontae Davis was seen in a boot today and wasn't practicing. We don't know the extent of those injuries, but the only other corners on the roster are Darius Butler and Josh Thomas, so adding Shaun Prater as depth at the position is a smart move.
Of course, perhaps just as interesting is the position that the Colts subtracted depth from: quarterback. Andrew Luck watch is in full swing as his status for Thursday night's game against the Texans is still up in the air. The signing of Josh Johnson signified that Luck was likely to miss Sunday's game, so could the release of Johnson now mean that Luck will play Thursday? Maybe. That's the best answer we have right now - maybe. I don't think we can draw that conclusion quite yet, as though the Colts hope Luck will play this week it doesn't sound like a certainty yet. Remember, the Colts worked with Matt Hasselbeck and Alex Tanney (who's on the practice squad) at practice for a couple of days last week before signing Johnson, and they might be fine doing that again. This could indeed be a sign that Luck is ready to go, but I think it's more likely that it was a move made in order to get Prater in to practice now to prepare for Thursday, and the Colts had him take Johnson's spot as they hold out hope that Luck will be ready to go. As we get closer, we could see the Colts add another quarterback to the active roster, or we could see the team become more confident in Luck's status and roll with only two entering the game. Either way, the release of Johnson today certainly is interesting.
The Colts also made a couple of practice squad moves today, signing defensive end Earl Okine and cornerback Tay Glover-Wright to the practice squad and waiving tight end Sean McGrath from the practice squad.