On Monday as the Green Bay Packers began their preparations to play the Chicago Bears, the team made a notable personnel move to bolster the depth on the offensive line. This move came as little surprise, but it is notable nonetheless as the Packers get ready to face a tough slate of pass-rushers in the coming weeks as they run the NFC North gauntlet.
The move was to activate offensive tackle Jared Veldheer from the commissioner’s exempt list, placing him on the 53-man roster. To make room for Veldheer, the Packers waived another reserve lineman, Adam Pankey.
The Packers claimed Veldheer on waivers last week, a day after the New England Patriots cut him loose following his decision to come out of retirement. Veldheer had signed with the Patriots in May, but retired only a few days later. The Packers received a roster exemption to bring him onto the team as he re-acclimated to a normal practice schedule over the past week.
Veldheer will likely be a top candidate to back up both of the Packers’ veteran offensive tackles, Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari. Alex Light and Billy Turner are other options, but Veldheer provides a proven veteran down the depth chart. Interestingly, however, the Packers list Veldheer as the primary backup at left tackle and left guard, while Light appears as the second-stringer at right tackle.
For Pankey, this is the fourth time that the Packers have waived him off the active roster. He failed to make the initial 53 at final cuts each of the past three years, landing on Green Bay’s practice squad in 2017 and 2018 while signing with the Titans’ practice squad this September. However, the Packers signed him to their 53 each of the past three seasons as insurance and he has spent a total of 30 game weeks on the roster. But despite that tenure, he has been active on the gameday 46-man roster just twice, once each in 2017 and 2018.
Pankey’s jobless term lasted just one day, however; on Tuesday, the Miami Dolphins claimed him on waivers.
With the Packers remaining largely healthy, the Packers would seem unlikely to make any other significant roster transactions this week as they get ready to host the Bears in week 15. However, the team did host a workout for at least one player on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. That player was former first-round pick Joshua Garnett, an interior lineman who was drafted 28th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
Acme Packing Company profiled Garnett, who became known as a “legendary eater” at Stanford, at the 2016 NFL Combine prior to his selection. Garnett played in 15 games as a rookie, starting 11 for Chip Kelly’s 2-14 squad. However, after the 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan was hired to coach the team in 2017, Garnett missed his second year on injured reserve with a knee injury, and he played in just seven games in 2018 before being released at final cuts this August.