The surprise of the Packers’ Tuesday new cycle was that only three players were protected on their practice squad: quarterback Kurt Benkert, kicker J.J. Molson, and long-snapper Steven Wirtel. Previously, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was also given the protected designation, though he had exhausted the number of games he could move up from the practice squad to the game-day roster in 2021 after last week’s match against the Cincinnati Bengals.
We now have the reason why: St. Brown was signed to the Packers’ 53-man roster today, ending the speculation on his immediate future. If St. Brown, in the future, is waived and then later re-signed to the practice squad, his three-game clock of being able to move up on game day from the practice squad resets, for what it’s worth. The timeline of him being waived and returning to the practice squad lines up well with receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) returning to the active roster from the injured reserve list, which MVS is eligible to do later this month.
While St. Brown has contributed more as a special-teamer than as a passing game target this season, elevating him right now gives the Packers an easy way to transition him on and back off the active roster with the end game being to reset his practice squad clock as Valdes-Scantling nears the end of his injured reserve stint. At this point, barring another injury to the receiver position, it should be assumed that St. Brown is the first player on the chopping block once Valdes-Scantling can return to practice.