Last season, teams were about to keep their offseason roster together until the last minute of final cuts, due to various factors that Covid forced onto the league. This year, teams must get to 85 players by August 17th (tomorrow), 80 players by August 24th, and eventually 53 players by August 31st. The good news is that the expanded practice squad of 16 is here to stay, meaning north of 85 percent of players still on the roster on August 24th could make the team in some form or fashion.
Two Packers were released today in advance of tomorrow’s deadline, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky: offensive lineman Jon Dietzen and punter Ryan Winslow.
Dietzen, a rookie and Black Creek native who played for the University of Wisconsin, did not see playing time in Green Bay’s preseason opener. As it stands today, the Packers have 15 offensive linemen still on the roster, including the injured David Bakhtiari. They won’t be able to run three full lines, even when everyone else is healthy, but the versatility of their offensive linemen should be able to help them mix-and-match looks for the third-teams reps.
Winslow, in his fourth season in the NFL, did see playing time against the Texans, but this move suggests the Packers have given the punting job to JK Scott for a fourth season. Cutting the fat on special teams seems to be one way the Packers have found a way to open up roster spots recently, as the team released long snapper Joe Fortunato earlier this month to pick up pass-rusher Chauncey Rivers off of waivers. It would not be a surprise if placekicker JJ Molson was among the three to get the ax tomorrow, with veteran Mason Crosby still in the building.
Head coach Matt LaFleur also noted in this morning’s press conference that the team is going to work out quarterbacks tomorrow, leaving the potential for the Packers getting down to 84 before signing another passer and going back up to an 85-man roster. For what it’s worth, he sounded optimistic about the potential for Jordan Love to play in Week 2 of the preseason, but on the off chance that the Packers can’t get Love ready against the Jets, it would force them to either dress down Aaron Rodgers or go into the game with just Kurt Benkert, as it stands today.