The Green Bay Packers have spent most of the offseason operating below roster limit. That finally changed Tuesday when the team announced the signing of free-agent linebacker Derrick Mathews, completing the 90-man roster.
Though Mathews has never played during an NFL regular-season game, he spent most of 2015 on Washington's practice squad. The team released him on May 2 shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 NFL Draft.
A 6-foot, 232-pound defender from the University of Houston, Mathews projects as an inside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 base defense. While the team already has plenty of competition at the position, some of its players have missed time recently. Undrafted rookie Manoa Pikula hasn't practiced since pulling his hamstring last Thursday. Meanwhile, Sam Barrington remains sidelined with the foot injury that ended his 2015 season after one game.
While arriving in Green Bay so late suggests a tougher path for Mathews, the Packers have kept players signed after the start of training camp. Last year, wide receiver Ed Williams signed with the team on Aug. 3 but managed to win a spot on the practice squad come September.
Mathews finished his college career with 400 career tackles, fifth most in Houston Cougars program history.