The Green Bay Packers headed into Tuesday facing a roster deadline at 4:00 PM Eastern, with teams across the NFL being required to trim their active rosters down to 80 players from an 85-man maximum. At the start of the day, the Packers sat at 83, requiring three moves to reach the new limit by the afternoon.
Prior to the team’s practice on Tuesday, they took the necessary steps. First up was the reported trade of offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen to the Jaguars, which put the Packers at 82 players. Shortly thereafter, reports emerged of Green Bay’s other two moves, which are both injury-related.
The first move was somewhat expected, as the Packers moved running back Kylin Hill from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list. In doing so, Hill remains on the roster, but by reverting to the reserve list, he is officially shut down for the first four weeks of the season.
Hill tore his ACL during last season’s week 8 victory over the Arizona Cardinals when he took a hit on a kickoff. Hill is apparently farther behind in his rehab process than tight end Robert Tonyan, who returned from the PUP list after tearing his ACL in the same game last season. With Hill out for the start of the season, the Packers will turn to one of Patrick Taylor, Tyler Goodson, or Dexter Williams as their third running back on their initial 53-man roster.
The other move is a bit more surprising, however. The Packers have waived safety Vernon Scott with an injury designation following the shoulder injury he suffered in Friday’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. Scott had been receiving the most snaps at safety behind starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage and was playing with the first-team defense with Savage sitting out due to a hamstring injury of his own.
Waiving Scott suggests that his injury is significant. The Packers could be trying to get him onto the injured reserve list, though APC’s research indicates that clearing waivers is not required for non-vested players (those with less than four accrued seasons) to go onto injured reserve after the cutdown date to 85 players. Still, if Scott does clear waivers, he may revert to injured reserve anyway, which would end his season until or unless the team were to release him with an injury settlement. Expect to learn more about the full plan for Scott’s roster status in the coming days.
At safety, the Packers now face significant questions behind Amos and Savage. No other position on the team’s roster has been hit harder with injuries than safety, with Savage, rookie Tariq Carpenter, special teamer Dallin Leavitt, and reserve Innis Gaines all missing time during training camp. For now, Shawn Davis and Micah Abernathy may have the upper hand on the backup positions.
In any case, these two moves combined with the Van Lanen trade have the Packers at the required 80-man limit in time for the afternoon’s deadline, which comes two days before Green Bay’s final preseason game in Kansas City on Thursday.