Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Green Bay Packers fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Now that the Green Bay Packers’ initial 53-man roster has been finalized and the team has made their practice squad signing official, let’s answer a few questions about what’s happened over the last couple of days.
Question 1: Who was the most surprising cut?
I listed four candidates here. If someone else would have been your vote, let me know down in the comment section. The names that I thought would be popular here were receiver Grant DuBose, cornerback Corey Ballentine, safety Tarvarius Moore and punter Pat O’Donnell.
According to general manager Brian Gutekunst, Moore’s situation was based on availability, as he’s currently dealing with a knee injury. After being released with an injury designation, Moore will eventually sign an injury settlement with the Packers and then be able to re-sign with the team — or any other NFL franchise — once he’s healthy at a later date.
DuBose was the one rookie draft pick who was waived without an injury designation, unlike running back Lew Nichols. Ballentine was a key special teams contributor. Both have since re-signed with the team’s practice squad.
The last name is Pat O’Donnell, who might be the winner here. He was beaten out by Daniel Whelan, despite splitting preseason punts and being the Packers’ primary holder.
Question 2: Who was the most surprising keep?
Again, I’m limited to four names here, so the names I chose were running back Emanuel Wilson, offensive lineman Royce Newman, safety Jonathan Owens and punter Daniel Whelan. Drop a comment if you would have gone with another option.
Wilson was a surprise, as many Packers fans had bought into the idea of the team rostering just two running backs — as they did at the start of last season. Then there’s the Patrick Taylor factor. Green Bay seemed to speak glowingly about Taylor’s special teams efforts, which they said was going to be a deciding factor for the RB3 job.
Newman and Owens were simply players who didn’t perform well this preseason. Their inclusion on this list has nothing to do with roster math. We already addressed Whelan’s situation when discussing Pat O’Donnell in the previous question.
Question 3: Should the Packers have traded Yosh Nijman?
I know, I know. We don’t know if David Bakhtiari is going to be healthy enough to play 17 games. Still, the team liked their tackle room enough to hold onto six of them on their initial 53-man roster, not including Kadeem Telfort's re-signing with the practice squad. Nijman, at best, ranks fourth in line for playing time in the tackle room right now, behind Bakhtiari, Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker. Elgton Jenkins, who is currently starting at left guard, is another tackle option.
It seems difficult to imagine that the Packers are going to get much out of Nijman’s $4.3 million contract, and they’ll likely be spenders in 2024 free agency. If they are, they won’t even get a 2025 compensatory draft pick in exchange for Nijman signing elsewhere on the open market next offseason.