When reports emerged on Monday that Rashan Gary’s ACL was indeed torn, the question was when — not if — the Green Bay Packers would place their top pass-rusher on injured reserve to end his season. They provided the answer to that question on Wednesday, officially placing him on the list to end his 2022 season.
Gary’s injury was a non-contact tear and was just one of several that the Packers suffered last Sunday on the artificial turf at Ford Field. However, it appears that his may be the only one that will be season-ending, though cornerback Eric Stokes’ long-term status is still uncertain.
Moving Gary to injured reserve frees up a spot on the 53-man roster, which the Packers reportedly will use to bring in a new safety. The team has claimed Johnathan Abram off waivers from the Las Vegas Raiders, requiring the team to have an open spot while the waiver claim processes.
With Gary now no longer an option for the rest of 2022, the Packers will likely start rookie fifth-round draft pick Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare at Gary’s outside linebacker spot opposite veteran Preston Smith. That in theory would leave the team with just one backup on the active roster (Jonathan Garvin), but the team does have Ladarius Hamilton on the practice squad. Additionally, the Packers designated Tipa Galeai for return from injured reserve earlier in the day on Monday, and they may activate him in time for this coming Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The timing of this injury could not be much worse for Gary, who is in the final year of his initial 4-year rookie contract in 2022 but is signed on a fifth-year option for 2023. The year before the option is frequently when players get contract extensions; for example, cornerback Jaire Alexander received a new contract this offseason heading into his option season. That may be a tougher pill for the Packers to swallow next spring with Gary working his way back off this injury.