GREEN BAY, Wis. – With organized team activities starting on Monday, the Green Bay Packers reached the 90-man offseason roster limit for the first time after they signed safety Jermaine Whitehead last week.
This week, we’ll get the chance to see the players on the practice field for the first time. Tuesday’s OTA practice will be open to reporters and, weather permitting, to fans.
Here’s a breakdown of the Packers’ roster as they head into OTAs. We’ll start with the offense, where the receiver position appears to be overflowing with possibilities:
Goners: Scott Tolzien (signed with the Colts)
Outlook: Rodgers is expected to be a full participant despite offseason knee surgery, while Hundley is getting the benefit of going through coach Mike McCarthy’s quarterback school in full for the first time in his career. The fifth-round draft pick from last season was so impressive in the preseason last year that the Packers let Tolzien go without drafting a quarterback or signing a veteran. Callahan had a decorated career at the Division III level, while Williams hasn’t played since the 2013 college season. The Packers need another developmental quarterback, but it remains to be seen whether Callahan or Williams fits that description.
Goners: James Jones (unsigned)
Outlook: If healthy, this has the potential to be one of the Packers’ deepest receiving corps since the 2011 season, when Nelson, Cobb, Jones, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings all were still productive. In fact, it’s so deep that you wonder if McCarthy would ask GM Ted Thompson to keep as many as seven receivers on the roster. Last year, they opened the season with just five, including Jones after he was signed in Week 1, so keeping even six would go against their grain. Nelson is expected to participate in OTAs on some level but likely won’t be cleared fully from his ACL surgery until the start of training camp. Montgomery (ankle) may not practice at all this offseason. How many receivers Thompson keeps could depend on whether Abbrederis and Janis show they can contribute like they did in the playoff loss at Arizona and if Davis (fifth-round pick) can help, even if it’s only on special teams. But at this point, who could you possibly cut among the group of Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Montgomery, Abbrederis, Janis and Davis?
Goners: John Kuhn
Outlook: Perhaps the most anticipated moment of the offseason will come when Lacy finally shows off just how much weight he has lost after McCarthy called him out. It’s a critical year for Lacy, who’s entering the final season of his rookie contract and is coming off his worst season as a pro. It appears the Packers may be moving on from Kuhn as their fullback, although the door may not be completely closed. Starks is back on a two-year, $6 million deal, but the No. 3 spot looks wide open. Jackson may be one of the prizes of the undrafted rookie class.
Goners: Andrew Quarless
Outlook: This also is the first look at Cook, the Packers’ one significant signing this offseason. Can the veteran, who was released by the Rams earlier this offseason, become the deep-threat receiver that Rodgers (8.8 yards per catch in 2015) couldn’t be last year? And how will Rodgers react to the Packers bringing in someone to push him? Backman has the biggest upside of the other tight ends, but the sixth-round pick from last year barely played as a rookie and so remains a great unknown.
Outlook: Last year’s starting five returns intact for one more year, but three of them – Bakhtiari, Lang and Sitton – are entering contract years. So is Tretter, the versatile backup. Perhaps that’s why Thompson drafted a pair of tackles – Spriggs in the second round and Murphy in the sixth – and re-signed Taylor and Barclay. Lang may not be ready to take part in OTAs after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.