Team: Green Bay Packers

Minor Moves: Friday Night

As our transactions log shows, it’s been a busy day for roster moves around the NFL, and tomorrow will be even more hectic, as teams cut their rosters down to 53 active players in advance of the 3:00pm CT deadline. As we look forward to what should be a fun Saturday, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from Friday’s transactions wire….

  • Kicker John Potter (Dolphins) and defensive back Devin Smith (Steelers) have been removed from their team’s respective injured lists with injury settlements, tweets Wilson.
  • Two Raiders have posted the news of their own waiving via social media: DE Jack Crawford (via Instagram) and TE Jake Murphy (via Twitter) each indicated they had been cut by Oakland.

Earlier Updates:

  • According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links), the Cowboys waived a pair of players today, parting ways with wide receiver Jamar Newsome and running back D.J. Adams.
  • The Dolphins began trimming their roster from 75 players to 53 today, informing tight end Kyle Miller that he’s being cut, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • Packers tackle Aaron Adams has suffered a torn ACL and MCL, and will be placed on injured reserve, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Adams would have been in contention for a spot at the back end of the 53-man roster had he remained healthy.
  • The Lions and 49ers both freed up some cap space by restructuring the contracts of safety Glover Quin and defensive lineman Ray McDonald, respectively, per reports by Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com and Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). We don’t have the specific details yet on either move, but they were likely simple restructures, converting a portion of the players’ base salaries into signing bonuses.
  • The following players were cut off their respective teams’ injured reserve lists with injury settlements, according to reports from John Oesher of Jaguars.com, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (all Twitter links): Defensive end David Carter (Jaguars), linebacker Jamar Chaney (Broncos), and safety DeJon Gomes (Lions).

NFC North Notes: Lions, Peterson, Raji

In the Lions‘ shutout of the Bills tonight, quarterback Kellen Moore made a strong case for sticking with the Lions, writes Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News. After completing 17 of 28 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns, Moore could be the third QB on the depth chart or perhaps overtake Dan Orlovsky as the No. 2 signal caller in Detroit. Here’s more from the NFC North..

  • Vikings star Adrian Peterson would be wise to start thinking about his future, writes ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert. Peterson downplayed a report indicating that he told Jerry Jones he’d like to join the Cowboys someday and said that he’d like to retire with the Vikings, but that may not be an option if he doesn’t perform at an elite level this season. AD is currently set to earn $13MM in 2015.
  • In a piece for the National Football Post, Joel Corry looked at injuries and other situations that could have financial implications, including Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji. Raji’s torn right biceps means that he’ll likely be signing another one-year prove-it deal in 2015, whether it’s with Green Bay or elsewhere.
  • The Lions are one of three teams that are tight against the cap as the season approaches, writes Jason Fitzgerald of The Sporting News. Fitzgerald expects to see some low level veteran cuts to help their cap situation since there aren’t many options for negotiations on their roster.

Packers Place Six Players On IR

Losing B.J. Raji is certainly unfortunate for the Packers, but as we learned late last week, they’re not panicking. Rather than pick through the scraps on the open market, the Packers are prepared to work with a number of in-house replacements, including Josh BoydLetroy Guion and undrafted rookie Mike Pennel. Here’s the latest out of Green Bay..

  • According to an NFL source, the Packers will place guard Andrew Tiller on the waived-injured list, tweets Justin Felder of FOX 11 in Green Bay. Tiller injured his calf against the Raiders in preseason action. The Syracuse product has previously spent time with the Saints and Chargers and was on Green Bay’s practice squad last season.
  • As expected, the Packers will place Raji on injured reserve today, a league source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The 28-year-old defensive lineman suffered a biceps tear last week.
  • Vinnie Porter, the agent to former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla, tells Demovsky (link) that the Packers gave his client an eight-week regular season injury settlement. Lyerla tore his MCL and PCL and, as expected, was waived-injured by the team. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) confirmed the move earlier today.
  • In total, the Packers announced that they have placed six players on injured reserve to get down to a 75-man roster, tweets Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. The six headed to IR are: Raji, Tiller, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, offensive lineman Don Barclay, running back Rajion Neal, and linebacker Joe Thomas.

NFC Notes: Cassel, Brent, Packers, Garrard

Even after the Vikings traded back into the first round of May’s draft to select Louisville product Teddy Bridgewater, the prevailing wisdom was that Matt Cassel would be the Week 1 starter at quarterback in Minnesota. Per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports 1 (Twitter link), that notion has held, as head coach Mike Zimmer has informed the Vikings’ players that Cassel will indeed open the season as the team’s No. 1 QB.

Zimmer himself confirmed the news to reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (on Twitter), saying that Cassel was the favorite in the competition from the start. “Matt did not do anything to lose the job this preseason,” said Zimmer. “I think he’s played great. The team has a lot of confidence in him.” Through three preseason games, Cassel has completed 26 of 39 passes for 367 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, while Bridgewater has completed 26 of 40 pass attempts for 266 yards, four scores, and no picks.

On a macro level, this news means that no rookie quarterback will be his team’s Week 1 starter (unless Matt Schaub‘s injury lingers and David Carr is forced to take the reins for the Raiders). Chad Henne was chosen to start over Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, and Johnny Manziel lost out out Brian Hoyer in Cleveland. Still, I’d be surprised if two or three (or perhaps all four) of said rookies aren’t starting games by season’s end.

More notes from the NFC:

  • While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appears ready to save a roster spot for Josh Brent, the defensive tackle likely won’t require an active roster spot when the NFL reinstates him. According to Ed Werder of ESPN.com, the league is expected to suspend Brent if and when he’s reinstated. “He’s not just going to walk back onto the field,” a source tells Werder.
  • Even after B.J. Raji‘s season-ending biceps injury, Green Bay has enough depth along the defensive line that it won’t be signing ex-Packer Ryan Pickett, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Unhappy with incumbent Alex Henery, the Eagles had been scouting teams with a surplus of kickers, tweets Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Berman points to Dustin Hopkins, released by the Bills this morning, as one option for the Birds.
  • It’s unclear if he was simply being humorous, but David Garrard lobbied the Rams (via Twitter) to give him a call following Sam Bradford‘s season-ending injury. Garrard is 36 and has dealt with numerous injuries in the last few years — it’s highly doubtful St. Louis would be interested.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Packers Release Seven Players

The Packers have cut the following seven players, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com:

Meanwhile, Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that B.J. Raji, Jared Abbrederis, and Don Barclay are headed to the IR. The Packers’ currently have 81 players on their roster.

NFC North Notes: Munnerlyn, Lions, Packers

When Vikings newcomer Captain Munnerlyn signed with the team in March, he envisioned being the starting cornerback to start the regular season. Even after he was listed beside Josh Robinson as a “co-starters” on the team’s first depth chart, the 26-year-old is still convinced that the starting gig belongs to him.

“Basically, I didn’t know that I was going to come off the bench and just slide into the nickel,” he told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“I don’t think that was the plan. I always thought I would start outside and slide in… I’ve played a lot of football in this league. I’ve started a lot of games.

“I really didn’t even know there was any competition.”

Let’s see what else is happening in the NFC North…

  • Lions rookie T.J. Jones will remain on the team’s PUP list when the season begins. While this wasn’t the best-case scenario for the wide receiver, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes that it could ultimately help the player, who would have had a tough time making the final squad.
  • In the same article, Twentyman notes that Lions defensive end George Johnson has continued to move up the depth chart. “He played pretty well,” said head coach Jim Caldwell. “Lot of effort plays, he was active, he was tough and threw his body around, he did a nice job in the scrimmage plays and special teams, as well.”
  • Instead of keeping three quarterbacks, Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette thinks it’d be best for the Packers to keep only one of Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien. With the extra spot, Dougherty suggests the team carry an extra linebacker, safety, tight end or receiver.

Dunne On Replacements For B.J. Raji

An unfortunate injury to Packers’ nose tackle B.J. Raji has left the team looking for a way to replace his size and athleticism in the middle of their defense. The arm injury has been confirmed to be torn biceps, and will more than likely force him to miss the season, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter).

As big of a loss as this is for the defense, the team is not yet panicking, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). The team has a number of in-house replacements, including Josh Boyd, Letroy Guion and undrafted rookie Mike Pennel, according to Dunne.

Guion was one of the favorite free agent signings this offseason, but has missed virtually all of training camp with a variety of hamstring problems. He was thought of as a possible PUP candidate, but Dunne notes that the team might not feel comfortable waiting that long to see him in action now without Raji (via Twitter).

Dunne also notes that former Packer Ryan Pickett is an option (via Twitter). Pickett, who played nose tackle and defensive end for the team since 2006, is a free agent who has expressed interest in continuing his career with the Packers, as Dunne wrote earlier this offseason.

However, Dunne also mentioned that the team would most likely stand pat with what they have, knowing they have the option to play more nickel packages, which would put Mike Daniels and Datone Jones on the field, and alleviate the need for a true nose tackle (via Twitter).

Johnny Jolly, another former Packer defensive lineman, is also not currently in the team’s plan as a replacement for Raji, (via Twitter).

Friday Night Game Notes: NFC North

This morning, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport said the Packers were pessimistic about an arm injury suffered by nose tackle B.J. Raji last night. In his latest tweet, Rapoport reports (via Twitter) the belief is Raji tore his biceps, and tests will determine whether it’s fully or partially torn.

12:29: Raji’s biceps tear is confirmed, per JSOnline’s Tom Silverstein (via Twitter), who says the fear is Raji will be lost for the season.

Here’s some more links derived from last night’s action involving the Packers, Bears and Lions:

NFC North Links: Lions, Ponder, Packers

Roster construction is a collaborative effort in Detroit, but head coach Jim Caldwell acknowledges that general manager Martin Mayhew will have the final say on the 53 players the Lions carry into the regular season, as he tells Justin Rogers of MLive.com. If Caldwell were making the final decisions, he’d like favor production over potential, for one obvious reason.

“I’m in the business of winning games and winning games now,” Caldwell said. “So the most important thing to me is getting guys who can be in a position to help us win right now. There are other, businesses (and) positions within the organization that may look at it differently, but we have to look at it as coaches. We’re looking for the best guy to help us win, at this particular moment in time, and that’s what counts for us.”

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • Although Christian Ponder has made comments indicating he’d be open to a trade, he clarified today that he’s not asking to be dealt by the Vikings. “As a competitor you want to be the guy out there playing,” Ponder said. “But I do feel like in the situation I’m in right now, I am getting better” (Twitter links via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).
  • Colt Lyerla was waived-injured by the Packers yesterday after tearing his MCL and PCL, but agent Vinnie Porter gets the sense that the team still has his client in its plans, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Assuming Lyerla clears waivers, he could spent the year on injured reserve and continue on with Green Bay next season.
  • In a separate piece for the Journal Sentinel, Dunne explores whether or not there’s still room on the Packers for former first-round pick Nick Perry. The linebacker’s roster spot probably isn’t in jeopardy, but 2014 could be a make-or-break season for him.
  • By signing Julius Peppers and having him make the transition from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker, the Packers are hoping the ex-Bear has a career renaissance similar to the one experienced by Charles Woodson when Woodson joined the Packers and began to play positions besides just cornerback. Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com has the story.

Nick Collins To Retire

Veteran safety Nick Collins, who spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Packers, has announced his retirement (via TwitLonger). Collins hasn’t played in the league since 2011, as he’d been dealing with a neck injury suffered during Week 2 of that year. Though doctors were reportedly uncomfortable with approving his health, Collins was eying a comeback attempt as recently as February, but it seems as if that plan has been aborted.

“[I've] officially announced my retirement from the NFL,” said Collins. “I also would like to thank my family, friends, and the Packer Nation for the love and support.”

Collins underwent cervical fusion surgery following his neck injury in 2011, and was eventually released by the Packers in 2012 when the team expressed unease with allowing him to return to the field. Later that year, Collins’ agent conceded that his client’s playing career was likely over, but the former second-round pick himself always maintained that he wanted to return to action

During his prime, Collins was among the best safeties in the NFL — he was named to the Pro Bowl each year from 2008-10, and won the Super Bowl in 2010. After joining Green Bay out of Bethune-Cookman in 2005, Collins went on to start 95 games, and recorded 340 tackles and 21 interceptions during that span. In 2008, he led the league in interception return yards, taking his picks back a whopping 295 total yards.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.