NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has reported that the Green Bay Packers will waive safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, a move that was foreshadowed by Green Bay’s inactives list against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Abram was a healthy scratch against the Eagles, while outside linebacker Justin Hollins — who was picked up on Wednesday — and tackle Luke Tenuta made their debuts for the Packers.
Abram, a former first-round pick from the Raiders, was signed off of waivers by the Packers in Week 10. He played 28 special teams snaps and just one defensive snap over Week 10 and Week 11 before being a healthy scratch in Week 12.
The Mississippi State product had prior history with Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who was the Raiders’ interim head coach last season. With Abram out of the picture, Green Bay still has five safeties on their 53-man roster: Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Rudy Ford, Tariq Carpenter and Dallin Leavitt. The Packers also elevated practice squad safety Innis Gaines against the Eagles, leading to Gaines playing a season-high 18 special teams snaps in Philadelphia.
Following Abram’s release and guard Sean Rhyan’s PED suspension that will last through the end of the regular season, the Packers’ active roster is down to 51 players. With two open roster spots, Green Bay has a couple of internal options to fill those spots.
First is running back Patrick Taylor, who was elevated from the practice squad last week and has played in nine of the Packers’ games this season. Taylor is allotted one more practice squad elevation for the year before he must be rostered on the 53-man squad to play as a special teams contributor and Green Bay’s third running back.
The second and third options are outside linebacker Tipa Galeai and tackle Caleb Jones, two players who are designated to return from injury lists. Galeai sustained a hamstring injury and was placed on the injured reserve in Week 6. In Week 10, he was designated to return, opening up a three-week window in which he could practice with the team without having to count against the active roster. That window is coming to a close, meaning he will either need to be waived or placed on the 53-man roster on Wednesday of this week.
Jones battled mononucleosis earlier this season but has been designated to return off of the non-football illness list. His window to practice with the team without having to be an active roster member continues through this week, so the Packers don’t have the same type of urgent ultimatum in his case. Earlier this year, Green Bay rostered 11 offensive linemen on their 53-man roster, which does leave open the possibility that they would like to not subject Jones to waivers.
The Packers have promoted safety Innis Gaines from the practice squad, leaving the team with just one open roster spot.