Mark this one down as a surprise.
The NFL's transaction report was released to the media this afternoon, and it contained one expected move but one shocker as well. The Packers have activated offensive lineman JC Tretter from Injured Reserve/Designated for Return, but in order to open up a roster spot, they waived offensive tackle and 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod.
Coming into this week, it seemed more likely that center Garth Gerhart might be the player released to make room for Tretter. Instead, Sherrod's release leaves the Packers with just two true offensive tackles on the roster: starters David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. Backing up those tackle positions will likely be some combination of Tretter and starting right guard T.J. Lang, who has filled in at tackle in past years before settling in at guard.
Thanks to Sherrod's release, the Packers now carry only two players on their roster from the ten-man class of 2011: wide receiver Randall Cobb (a second-round pick) and cornerback Davon House (fourth round). Furthermore, Sherrod is the first Packers first-round pick to part ways with the team since Justin Harrell, who was drafted in 2007 and released after training camp in 2011.
Of course, both Sherrod's and Tretter's careers have been marred by injury. Sherrod suffered multiple fractures in his leg late in his rookie season and missed all of 2012 and most of 2013 with the injury. Tretter, on the other hand, spent most of his rookie year of 2013 on the Physically Unable to Perform list thanks to a broken ankle suffered in rookie minicamp and he missed the first eight games of 2014 with a fractured bone in his knee.
Tretter, a college left tackle at Cornell, was expected to be the starter at center in 2014 before his injury. Thanks to the strong play of rookie Corey Linsley, that job does not appear to be up for grabs, but Tretter will likely be looked at as a primary backup at many positions across the offensive line moving forward.
Sherrod was graded as the Packers' worst offensive player so far this season by Pro Football Focus, with a grade of -10.1 in 140 snaps. Tretter has not played a regular season down, but graded with a +2.5 in 86 snaps this preseason.
In other transactions, the Packers signed running back Rajion Neal and inside linebacker Joe Thomas to the practice squad. Both players participated in training camp with Green Bay this season as undrafted free agent rookies. To make room for these players, tight end Ike Ariguzo and defensive lineman Joe Kruger were released.