When the Green Bay Packers released defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois earlier Tuesday, they appeared to do so to free up space for wide receiver Geronimo Allison. As it turns out, they had another transaction in mind to open a spot on the 53-man roster. On Tuesday, the team has also released cornerback LaDarius Gunter.
The Packers activated Gunter for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks but barely played him, limiting the cornerback to just two snaps on defense. Gunter trailed far behind starters Davon House (49), Quinten Rollins (46), and Damarious Randall (40), as well as rookie Kevin King (six). That workload represents a significant drop-off from Gunter's workload a year ago.
After injuries sidelined top cornerbacks Sam Shields and significantly limited Randall and Rollins, Gunter stepped in as the defense's No. 1 cover man down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs. Gunter struggled mightily in that role, overmatched by All-Pro receivers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and Dez Bryant. Gunter returned to Green Bay in 2017 with more limited expectations, making the Week 1 roster as one of the final defensive backs retained.
Because Gunter has less than three accrued years, he must pass through waivers before he can negotiate with another team. If he clears, the Packers could sign him to the practice squad.