One day after reaching the NFL’s first cut-down limit to 85 players, the Green Bay Packers made another cut on Wednesday. On the way out is wide receiver Malik Taylor, who has been a stalwart member of the Packers’ special teams over the past two seasons. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Taylor is being released with an injury designation due to a shoulder injury that has had him in and out of practice for the last few weeks.
After going undrafted out of Ferris State University in 2019, Taylor signed briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but landed with the Packers just before training camp. He spent his rookie season on the Packers’ practice squad, but then made the active roster in 2020, when he played 15 regular season games, starting one, and suiting up in both postseason contests. Taylor made the roster once again in 2021, seeing action in ten of the Packers’ 17 games but being inactive for the final four games, including Green Bay’s playoff loss.
In his NFL career, Taylor has caught seven passes for 80 yards and one touchdown, with that score coming against the Houston Texans in 2020. His most consistent stretch of playing time on offense came from weeks four through nine of that season, when he filled in for injured receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. Outside of that stretch, however, he only played more than ten offensive snaps twice, in week two of 2020 and in week one of 2021 when the Packers brought in their backups in a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints.
In fact, Taylor was passed up by practice squad elevation Juwann Winfree when the Packers were missing Adams, Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling against the Arizona Cardinals in 2021. Instead, Taylor’s contributions have almost exclusively come on special teams, where he has played more than 300 regular season snaps in the past two years. He has served as a part-time kickoff returner, but was most prominently featured on kick and punt coverage teams as a gunner.
This is the first cut from the Packers’ wide receiver group during training camp. The team appears likely to keep seven wideouts for the 2022 season, with Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs seemingly guaranteed spots. Fighting for a few positions behind that group of five are Winfree, seventh-round draft pick Samori Toure, and undrafted rookies Danny Davis and Ishmael Hyman. However, Davis was apparently injured during Tuesday’s practice, which could affect his status for the final two preseason games.