On Friday, the Green Bay Packers released kicker JJ Molson, freeing up a single roster spot on their 90-man offseason roster. On Tuesday, the Packers addressed this opening by claiming defensive lineman Chris Slayton off of waivers via the San Francisco 49ers.
Slayton, a former seventh-round pick, was originally selected by the New York Giants and was waived by during final cutdowns in 2019. He was immediately signed by the team to their practice squad and was activated to the 53-man roster two days before the Giants’ season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, which he did not play in. With coaching turnover and no preseason in 2020, Slayton was released by New York before ever even registering a preseason snap for new head coach Joe Judge.
Slayton then went on to sign with the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad for a week before stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and 49ers. To this date, Slayton has yet to play in a regular-season game, though he did play the 2019 preseason with the Giants and the 2021 preseason with the Falcons. The former Syracuse product was known as a run stopper during the pre-draft process, though he has seldom had the opportunity to show it on the field in the NFL.
For what it’s worth, the Washington Football Team worked out Slayton before he was signed to the 49ers’ practice squad in 2021, per Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. Slayton posted a relative athletic score of 7.6 on a 10-point scale, with “good” grades in size, explosion and agility and an “okay” grade in speed.
With pick 245 in the 2019 NFL Draft, the #Giants selected Chris Slayton, DT, Syracuse.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 29, 2019
He posted a good #RAS with good size, okay speed, good explosiveness, good agility at the DT position.#Giants pic.twitter.com/YjIOoTr1A6
At the moment, you can call five interior defensive linemen on the Packers’ roster “locks” to make the team: Kenny Clark, first-rounder Devonte Wyatt, Dean Lowry, T.J. Slaton and the 2022 signing Jarran Reed. Green Bay often went into games with five active defensive linemen last season, meaning that Slayton will have an uphill battle to compete with Jack Heflin, seventh-round pick Jonathan Ford and undrafted free agents Akial Byers and Hauati Pututau to make the Packers’ final roster, barring injury.
At the very least, Green Bay’s defensive line room is going to be a lot thicker than it was last season, when they played catch-and-release with several sub-300-pound defensive linemen in camp. Slayton, a soon-to-be 26-year-old, signed a futures deal with San Francisco, meaning that the Packers picked up a one-year, $705,000 deal via the waiver rules.