Monday, October 3, 2022

Packers cut veteran receivers to add “highly recruited” LB

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The Green Bay Packers add another inside linebacker to their ranks, with former starter Krys Barnes stuck on injured reserve until at least October.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst signed former New York Jets rookie DQ Thomas to the team’s practice squad after inviting him to practice on Sept. 20. man exercise squad roster.

Thomas was a “highly recruited” undrafted rookie who ended his stellar career in Middle Tennessee State and received $130,000 in guaranteed money to sign with the New York Jets in May Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel written down. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound inside linebacker played five seasons for the Blue Raiders, finishing as their all-time program leader on both Tackles for Loss (53) and Sacks (20.5).

As for Fulgham, the 27-year-old led the Philadelphia Eagles in 539 yards in the 2020 season and joined the Packers midway through training camp to bring some more experience to their relatively young receiving space. He was the only other receiver on their practice team, along with Juwann Winfree, to make the gameday list in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers had been expected to make a move to inside linebacker after losing Barnes to a serious ankle injury in their season opener. He was their No. 3 linebacker behind De’Vondre Campbell and rookie Quay Walker from round one and may not return to their active roster until midway through week six, even if he recovers quickly, leaving Isaiah McDuffie the only depth piece behind her Appetizers.

With Thomas now on board, the problem is at least partially solved. The rookie has tackled well in his three preseason appearances over the past month and has shown good pace for the Jets. He received a strong 83.1 tackling grade from Pro Football Focus, giving him double appeal as a special teams weapon as well. There are some bumps in his game to smooth out, particularly in coverage, but he could still have good development potential for the Packers if he picks up the schemes quickly.

However, the Packers are more likely to call the other inside linebacker on their practice team — third-year Ray Wilborn — if they want reinforcements in the next few weeks. Since signing a reserve/future contract in January 2021, he has progressed with the team and has a better understanding of what to expect in Joe Barry’s defensive system, which should put him ahead of Thomas in the pecking order for training roster increases . But the competition can’t hurt.

Thomas may have been the only new player the Packers signed Tuesday, but they’ve also drafted a handful of others who could be in play for a role on their practice team, including former Chicago Bears linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe.

Iyiegbuniwe was a fourth-round pick for the Bears in 2018 and has appeared in 58 games for them over the past four seasons, recording 29 total tackles, one pass deflection and one forced fumble. After Chicago refused to re-sign him as free agency, he signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks, but he struggled for them in both preseason appearances — missing two tackles — and was fired during the second wave of cuts.

Additionally, former CFL first-round offensive guard Ryan Hunter trained with the Packers Tuesday along with three other undrafted rookies: offensive tackles Blaise Andries (Minnesota) and Myron Cunningham (Arkansas), and linebacker Clarence Hicks (Texas-San Antonio). ).

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