Two members of the Green Bay Packers’ initial 53-man roster for the 2020 season were highly unlikely to play in the team’s week one contest against the Minnesota Vikings in seven days. On Monday afternoon, the team announced roster moves that confirm that will be the case, sending the two players to injured reserve.
Those two individuals are linebacker Kamal Martin and cornerback Kabion Ento. Both players suffered injuries in training camp that will keep them out several weeks. However, placing a player on injured reserve prior to the cut-down deadline for a 53-man roster would mean that the player would be ineligible to return during the 2020 season. The Packers faced this issue last year with wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.
Instead, keeping both players on the 53 and waiting until Sunday allows for them to return later this season. Changes to the injured reserve rules due to COVID-19 allow teams to bring an unlimited number of players back from injured reserve this season, and players must only spend three weeks on injured reserve prior to practicing with the team instead of six.
Martin, the team’s fifth-round draft pick, was fighting for a starting spot in the team’s base defense. He had impressed in training camp but suffered a knee injury in the team’s final scrimmage at Lambeau Field one week ago and underwent surgery on his meniscus shortly thereafter. He is expected to miss several weeks.
Ento, meanwhile, joined the team as an undrafted rookie in 2019 and made the switch from wide receiver in college to cornerback. Ento reportedly had surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot, but the team evidently feels that the injury is not serious enough to cost him the entire 2020 season. He spent all of last season on the practice squad.
In moving these two players to IR, the Packers gained two open roster spots on their 53-man roster. They elected to fill one of those two spots by signing cornerback Parry Nickerson.
Nickerson is in his third year out of Tulane, and he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. As a rookie, Nickerson played in all 16 games with two starts, then was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on cut-down day last summer. He then ended up on the Seahawks’ and Jaguars’ practice squads throughout the early part of 2019 before earning a promotion to Jacksonville’s active roster for the last four games of the season. Nickerson remained in Jacksonville through the 2020 offseason; he landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list to start training camp, but came off the list a week later before being waived on Saturday.
Standing 5-foot-10 3/8 and weighing in at 182 pounds, Nickerson posted a blazing 40-yard dash time at the 2018 Combine at 4.32 seconds. In college, Nickerson recorded 16 interceptions and 31 pass breakups at Tulane, taking one pick back 96 yards for a touchdown against Southern University in 2016.
Nickerson now replaces Ento as the sixth cornerback on the Packers’ roster, joining Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Chandon Sullivan, Josh Jackson, and Ka’Dar Hollman.
The Packers still have one open spot available on the 53-man roster after today’s roster moves.