Over the weekend, the Green Bay Packers held their annual rookie orientation minicamp, allowing the team’s draft picks, undrafted free agents, and a host of tryout players a chance to familiarize themselves with Green Bay and with the team. However, this camp also is an excellent opportunity for evaluation of these players, and the Packers made a handful of roster moves over the weekend after learning a bit more about the group of rookies.
First, the team signed a pair of draft picks to their rookie contracts. Punter JK Scott (the 172nd pick in the draft) and long snapper Hunter Bradley (pick 239) both finalized their four-year rookie deals. Scott’s deal is expected to carry a signing bonus of $217,556 (according to Overthecap.com), which would put his salary cap number at $534,389 for the 2018 season. Meanwhile, Bradley’s deal should have a bonus of just over $77,000, keeping his cap hit at just under $500,000.
In the same press release as the signing of those two players on Friday afternoon, the Packers announced the release of punter Justin Vogel. Vogel’s release came as a bit of a surprise, but details reported later in the weekend explained it a bit better. First, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that Vogel himself asked for his release in order to catch on with another team early on rather than stick with the Packers through the summer only to be cut in training camp. On Saturday, head coach Mike McCarthy addressed that deciaion, saying that that the team waived him in order to be “fair” to him. Regardless, the job now belongs to Scott barring something entirely unexpected.
These moves left the Packers’ roster at 88 players, but the team is expected to be back up to 90 by the end of the day on Monday. Demovsky had the first report of two tryout players that the Packers are signing to contracts: tight end Ryan Smith and linebacker Greer Martini.
We discussed Smith at APC just before the start of minicamp; he is a big body at the tight end position and should be in the mix to fight for a roster spot behind Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks. Here’s a look at him from Twitter film guru Ben Fennell:
#Packers rookie mini camp starts today...— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) May 4, 2018
Interesting attendee.. Miami (OH) TE Ryan Smith - 6037 257lbs (4.89 40)... Soft hands and good body control. Can make grabs in traffic/red zone... pic.twitter.com/VzLY8b22zy
Martini, meanwhile, projects as an inside linebacker for the Packers based on his size (6-foot-3 and 232 pounds). He was an off-ball linebacker at Notre Dame who rotated in and out of the starting lineup as a junior and senior, but was a team captain for his senior year. Martini’s senior season saw him post 75 total tackles (three for loss) with an interception and a pair of forced fumbles; that came after a junior season with seven TFLs and three sacks.
Though he does not possess blazing speed (reported 4.81 40 at Pro Day), Martini has excellent lateral quickness as displayed by his 6.90-second time in the 3-cone drill.
Thus, the Packers’ 90-man roster is set for the time being as the team looks forward to the start of OTAs two weeks from today.