In the aftermath of Bryan Bulaga’s recent MCL injury, the Green Bay Packers were left scrambling a bit for depth at offensive tackle. Regardless of whether Alex Light or Billy Turner steps in at right tackle for Bulaga, the team is in a tough spot — so tough that they promoted rookie Yosh Nijman from the practice squad earlier this week.
However, the Packers are getting a reinforcement from a very unexpected place: retirement.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Packers have claimed offensive tackle Jared Veldheer on waivers. Veldheer signed with the New England Patriots this offseason, but he suddenly retired in May after just a week with the team due to injuries. However, Rapoport reported Tuesday that Veldheer, who is 32 years old, was healthy and ready to return as a veteran addition. As a result, the Patriots waived him from their reserve/retired list on Tuesday, putting him on the market.
The Packers suddenly have an established veteran tackle on the roster. Veldheer was a third-round pick of the Raiders in 2010 and played in Oakland for four seasons before signing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. He spend four years there before being traded to the the Broncos for the 2018 campaign, the final year of that deal. Veldheer started 113 games in his career, almost all at left tackle.
By claiming Veldheer on waivers, the Packers take on the remainder of the one-year, $3.5 million contract he signed with New England.
It appears unlikely that the Packers would claim Veldheer with the intent of starting him immediately on Sunday, but rather that he will serve as injury insurance for the short term. Stay tuned to see who the Packers release in order to make room for the veteran.