With the deadline for the 2016 NFL season of being down to 75 players on a roster, the Green Bay Packers had some moves to make. Yesterday, the Packers started their roster cut down by releasing six players, including Green Bay-native and University of Minnesota-alum Peter Mortell. After a quite successful camp and preseason, Mortell was cut, which at the time lead to Tim Masthay regaining his starting job, but more on that in a little bit.
Today, Green Bay had to make six more roster decisions to get down to 75. They cut receiver Harvey Binford, traded away linebacker Lerentee McCray for a conditional 2018 draft pick, and placed running back John Crockett, tight end Kennard Backman, guard Josh Walker, center Jacob Flores, and tight end Mitchell Henry on injured reserve, taking them off their official roster. After all of these moves, the Packers stood at the required 75 players.
The most prevalent name on this list is Crockett, who recently injured his shoulder in the last preseason contest for Green Bay, and reports have being out of action at least one month, possibly more. Crockett was the Packer’s third-string tailback last year, behind Lacy and Starks. With his injury, it looks like undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Burks will be the recipient of his spot on the roster. Other players, like Backman, Walker, and Henry all have previous NFL experience either with Green Bay, so the likelihood they catch onto other teams is high if they chose to reach an injury settlement instead of remaining on injured reserve for the year.
Both Backman and Henry were fighting an uphill battle from the get-go, as the Packers normally only carry three tight ends, and with Richard Rodgers and Jared Cook entrenched on the roster, they were competing with Justin Perillo for the final spot. Binford was a rookie that Green Bay signed in the offseason, and with the crowded core already, his chances of making the roster were slim. The trade of McCray opens up a spot for Jayrone Elliott to probably earn one of the last linebacker spots on the team. His lackluster performance in the preseason left some to be desired, but his breakthrough last preseason has the team believing in his potential.
Upcoming for the Packers, September 3 at 6 pm ET is the final deadline when the roster must be cut down to 53 players, presenting Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy with tough decisions. Green Bay has their final preseason game this Thursday, September 1, against the Chiefs, so there is a window for player evaluation between the game and the deadline. In addition, this game will act as a one-game dress rehearsal for Jacob Schum, who is the new punter that the Packers just claimed on waivers today. With the claim, Tim Masthay was released. This may come as a surprise to most people, since the team just released Mortell a few days ago, but Masthay did not do enough during camp to prove himself worthy of a roster spot. Schum was just released by Tampa Bay, and has some regular season action under his belt. Hopefully with this pickup, the punting game is finally finalized for the Pack, but only time will tell.