On Tuesday, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst suggested that trades might be coming before the NFL’s cut-down date on Saturday. On Wednesday, he delivered on that suggestion.
Reggie Gilbert was set to enter his third NFL season, staying on the Packers’ practice squad for most of 2017 as an undrafted rookie and playing in every game last year. Gilbert recorded 2.5 sacks and played 712 snaps in 2018, finishing third among the team’s outside linebackers in the latter category. This year, with the team adding three players to the position group through free agency and the NFL Draft, GIlbert appeared set for a reserve role as the team’s fourth or fifth outside linebacker.
However, Gutekunst evidently felt that the roster needed more depth elsewhere. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers are sending Gilbert to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.
For the Packers, this all but ensures that they will keep four edge rushers to start 2019. Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith project as the starters, as the team added both players in free agency. First-round draft pick Rashan Gary will play a reserve role, likely alongside fourth-year pro Kyler Fackrell, who recorded double-digit sacks a year ago.
Conversely, GIlbert gives the Titans a veteran option as a depth edge rusher, or at least he will once he returns from injury. He has been out with a knee injury for the past week, but said recently that he expects to be ready no later than week two of the regular season. The Titans have a pair of established starters on the edge in Cameron Wake and second-year pro Harold Landry, but Gilbert will likely step in as a primary backup for those players and as a contributor on special teams.
Stay tuned, because the Packers are probably not done dealing.