The Green Bay Packers have released a pair of 2022 draft picks, the first draft choices from that class to be taken off the team’s active roster at any point since they were drafted. On Wednesday, the Packers announced that they will waive inside linebacker Tariq Carpenter and defensive lineman Jonathan Ford, corresponding roster moves for picking up safety Zayne Anderson and tight end Ben Sims off of waivers earlier in the day.
Carpenter, drafted as a safety, transitioned to the inside linebacker position this season. He played in 14 games last year, seeing the field for 122 snaps of special teams and 16 snaps of defense. The 6’4”, 225-pounder was originally a seventh-round pick out of Georgia Tech and was the Packers’ fifth or sixth inside linebacker option this summer.
Ford was also drafted in the seventh round and was one of six interior defensive linemen to initially make the Packers’ 53-man roster. He was a reserve nose tackle this summer, a position that has limited depth this year with Kenny Clark now playing defensive end and T.J. Slaton starting at the nose. Ford made last season’s 53-man roster but was a healthy scratch for all 17 games.
The Packers announced a 16-man practice squad today, including outside linebacker Kenneth Odumegwu. Odumegwu is an important piece to this puzzle, as the team is given an international player exemption for the Nigerian product, meaning that they are actually allowed a 17-man practice squad this season. Should Carpenter and Ford pass through waivers, the assumption is that the team would like to retain them on the practice squad.
That would still leave at least one man out, though, which means that a practice squad cut could be coming on Thursday to make room for the addition of Carpenter and Ford there. The team also does not carry a long snapper on the 69-man roster, though, it was reported earlier this week that the Packers will be re-signing Matthew Orzech — who was cut on Tuesday — once an unknown player on the active roster is placed on the injured reserve.
Now that initial cutdowns have been processed through the waiver system, NFL teams are finally allowed to place players on the injured reserve with a designation to return — something that wasn’t available before cutdowns. The Packers reportedly stashed a player on their roster for that purpose, which led to Orzech hitting temporary free agency.
While the Packers went down from 90 players to just 53 yesterday, there still is plenty of work for general manager Brian Gutekunst to do to get this team ready for the regular season.