Earlier today we learned that undrafted free agent quarterback Chase Rettig received his release as part of the first wave of mandatory preseason cuts. While the cut down to 75 players usually generates little intrigue for the average fan, Rettig's release holds greater significance.
With Rettig out of the picture, the Packers are left with three quarterbacks on the roster, none of which are targets for the practice squad. Knowing that, the release of the only viable in-house practice squad candidate at the position hints that the team is at least considering keeping all three of their current quarterbacks on the final roster.
As we've discussed before, Matt Flynn represents the kind of sturdy, reliable presence at backup quarterback that head coach Mike McCarthy trusts to handle big situations. Scott Tolzien wasn't that guy last year, but a full offseason in the system and a stellar preseason campaign may have changed his coach's tune. If the Packers let one go during the cut down to 53, another team would be expected to sign him, forcing Green Bay stash a young quarterback on the practice squad.
Prior to Rettig's release, there was reason to believe he would be that quarterback. However, a nondescript training camp and preseason appears to have rendered him a non-option for the Packers. While technically he could still be added to the practice squad following next week's final wave of releases, it's rare for players let go on the first cut down to return to those teams.
The more likely prospect is Green Bay keeping Flynn and Tolzien on their final roster. There's no strategic advantage to releasing Rettig at the first cut down. If the Packers viewed him as worth developing, he'd have remained until at least next week when the roster shrinks to 53. By releasing him now and effectively eliminating his chances of making the practice squad, the Packers appear to have put their chips behind their two other reserve signal callers. The alternative to keeping Flynn and Tolzien would be to bring another quarterback completely unfamiliar with the Packers' offense and attempt train them during the season under heavy rep limitations.
The Packers seem better off just holding onto Flynn and Tolzien. Each is deserving of a spot, and retaining both allows the Packers to avoid any of the backup quarterback pitfalls that led to last season's winless November.