On August 26th, the Green Bay Packers and the 31 other teams in the NFL need to reduce their active rosters from 90 to 75 players. They can do this in one of several ways: placing players on injured reserve, the reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI list, or with outright releases.
UPDATE: The Packers announced seven of their cuts at the same time this article was published, and the cuts included two players who we did not project: WR Chris Harper and QB Chase Rettig. Check our post on those cuts here.
The Packers currently sit with 88 players on the active roster, thanks to Colt Lyerla passing through waivers and being placed on Injured Reserve last week. Here are the ways we believe the Packers will trim their active roster down by Tuesday.
WR Jared Abbrederis
OL Don Barclay
ILB Joe Thomas
NT B.J. Raji
The first two names should be no surprise. With both of these players suffering torn ACLs early in camp, they will be completely unavailable for the 2014 season. Barclay will be a restricted free agent next year, while Abbrederis will come back for the second year on his rookie deal to try and make the team in 2015.
Raji should be no surprise, given the reports that say he has a torn biceps muscle and will be out for the entire 2014 season. If those reports are inaccurate, it's possible that they could hold onto him on the active roster through final cut-downs and place him on the IR/designated to return list, but that seems highly unlikely and would go contrary to the reports about the severity of his injury.
In the past, the Packers have placed rookies who had impressive starts to training camp on IR if their injuries were serious - for example, that's how they handles outside linebacker Jarvis Reed a year ago. Our guess is that they do the same with Thomas, who was reportedly looking good in practices before suffering his injury.
DL Letroy Guion
Guion has been on the NFI list since the beginning of training camp, and he has been on the shelf ever since. If the Packers don't think that he will see the field this week, this is the best move to give them roster flexibility and ensure that they can keep Guion around until midseason in the case of an injury on the defensive line.
The NFI list operates almost identically to the PUP list, with the only distinction being that the injury in question occurred outside of official football activities. Thus, Guion would be eligible to begin practicing after week 6 and would have three weeks to do so or be placed on Injured Reserve. The team then would have three weeks after he begins practicing to either activate him or place him on IR.
Last year at the cut-down to 75, the Packers placed four Active/PUP players on the Reserve/PUP list. That would be the same strategy I expect to be used here.
Waived or Released
S Charles Clay
CB Antonio Dennard
OG John Fullington
DE Luther Robinson
ILB Korey Jones
WR Gerrard Sheppard
OT Jeremy Vujnovich
CB Ryan White
A year ago, the Packers carried 84 players on the active roster before the cut-down to 75. With all the injuries on the team last summer, eight players were placed onto various injury lists (either IR or the PUP list) and they released only one, kicker Zach Ramirez. This year, they have a mostly healthy squad and they'll have to release at least eight or nine guys.
These are our best bets at the players who will go, as it seems that none of them have made a huge impression on the coaching staff or front office in camp. In general, these players are all third-stringers or lower, and shouldn't be expected to come back as part of the practice squad either. Really, each of these players was a camp body and had little chance of making the team anyway.