It was only a matter of time after the news broke that the Green Bay Packers were promoting kick return specialist Tremon Smith from the practice squad. The expected move to free up a roster spot for Smith took place later on Tuesday afternoon, as the Packers waived wide receiver and return man Darrius Shepherd.
Shepherd was a great story for the Packers this summer. He earned a spot on the 90 man roster after coming to rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, then beat the odds to make the 53 man roster out of training camp. However, Shepherd struggled when meaningful football began, both as a returner and in his limited opportunities on offense. Passed over on the wideout depth chart, returning kicks and punts were his only ticket on the field and he struggled at both, particularly in recent weeks.
Now Smith gets a chance in kickoffs at least, where he has a much better average this season than Shepherd (albeit in a smaller sample size). He may end up taking punts too, though he has not done so since college.
In addition to waiving Shepherd, the Packers also cut tight end Evan Baylis. Baylis has bounced around between the practice squad and active roster this year due to some injuries, but with Jace Sternberger seemingly headed back from injured reserve, Baylis is a victim of a numbers game. Sternberger is eligible to return as soon as this week, and if he does so that makes Baylis expendable.
With two cuts and one addition, the Packers are left with an open roster spot for the time being. Look for them to fill that before Sundays game against the Los Angeles Chargers, either by activating Sternberger or acquiring another player.