The Green Bay Packers trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players on Saturday. Here’s a look at the moves:
Most significant move: This was one they did not make. If the Packers couldn’t land Khalil Mack, the last thing they wanted was for him to go to an NFC North team. But that’s what they woke up to on cut-down day, when the rival Chicago Bears traded for the Oakland Raiders holdout linebacker. While the Packers had a pair of first-round draft picks in 2019 to offer, they presumably would have been lower than what the rebuilding Bears will give to the Raiders. The Packers had their own first-rounder plus one from another potential playoff team, the New Orleans Saints. The only consolation for the Packers is that when they host the Bears in their Sept. 9 regular-season opener, perhaps Mack won’t play or won’t make much of an impact given that he sat out the entire preseason and now has to transition to a new defense. The Packers’ pass rush was one of their biggest question marks throughout the offseason, and without a major addition like Mack, it remains that way. They didn’t sign a single edge rusher in free agency and didn’t draft one until the seventh round in Kendall Donnerson, who did not make the team.
Eight WRs, four TEs and only two RBs -- for now: Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery were the only running backs on the initial 53-man roster. Yet the Packers kept eight receivers and four tight ends. That could change well before the opener. It’s hard to imagine them going into the regular season with only two backs (Aaron Jones isn’t eligible to come off suspension until Week 3). Sunday’s waiver-claim period could bring a new running back to town, which is why it's important not to call these the final cuts. Rosters inevitably change between now and the opener. As for the receivers, not only did the Packers keep all three they drafted -- J’Mon Moore (fourth round), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth) and Equanimeous St. Brown (sixth) -- but they also held on to Trevor Davis and Jake Kumerow. They also kept four tight ends -- Jimmy Graham, Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan. If they make a waiver claim, they might take from one of those two positions. It’s almost unheard of to keep eight WRs, even if one (Davis) is primarily a return man/special-teams player.
Bye-bye Biegel: Outside linebacker Vince Biegel was the player the Packers picked when they got the extra fourth-round pick for trading out of the first round in the 2017 draft. Instead of using the 29th pick in the first round, they traded with the Browns to move back to No. 33 where they took cornerback Kevin King and also got the first pick of the fourth round (No. 108 overall that they used on Biegel. At the time, there was an argument to make that getting King and Biegel was better than taking T.J. Watt at No. 29. Biegel’s rookie year was basically lost when he underwent foot surgeries before he ever got to training camp and played just 121 snaps without a sack. He showed no pass-rush ability this summer, and after just 16 months, the Packers dumped the local favorite from the University of Wisconsin. New general manager Brian Gutekunst cut only two members of his first draft class, both seventh-round picks (Donnerson and DL James Looney).
Released: G Kofi Amichia, LB Vince Biegel, RB Joel Bouagnon, CB Donatello Brown, TE Emanuel Byrd, RB LeShun Daniels, C Austin Davis, C Dillon Day, OLB Kendall Donnerson, S Marwin Evans, CB Demetri Goodson, CB Josh Hawkins, LB James Hearns, RB Bronson Hill, LB Naashon Hughes, WR Adonis Jennings, FB Joe Kerridge, DL Tyler Lancaster, WR Kyle Lewis, DL James Looney, LB Greer Martini, DL Joey Mbu, LB Chris Odom, G/T Adam Pankey, LB Marcus Porter, TE Kevin Rader, FB Aaron Ripkowski, DL Conor Sheehy, TE Ryan Smith, LB Ahmad Thomas, LS Zach Triner, WR DeAngelo Yancey.
Reserve/suspended: RB Aaron Jones (first two games)