The health of several Packers players has been one of the largest talking points for the team this offseason. Positive news came today on that front, as offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, tight end Robert Tonyan and receiver Christian Watson were activated from the active/PUP list (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport).
Teams have until August 23 to activate players in this situation, so the timing of the move is highly encouraging with respect to their regular season availability. Beginning the campaign on the reserve/PUP list was considered a likely outcome in Jenkins’ case last week. That would have dealt a major blow to the Packers’ o-line (requiring him to be sidelined for at least the first four games of the season), especially given the uncertainty surrounding All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.
Instead, Jenkins’ activation represents a positive sign in his recovery from the ACL tear he suffered last November. Assuming he is able to play at the start of the season, the question of where he lines up on the line will become one of great importance. On that subject, head coach Matt LaFleur simply said “time will tell” (Twitter link via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic). The Pro Bowler has experience at guard, but could also operate on the blindside if Bakhtiari isn’t recovered from his own knee ailment by Week 1.
Similar to Jenkins, Tonyan was a question mark for the start of the season. He, too, is rehabbing a torn ACL – an injury which limited him to eight games and only 18 receptions last year. His production in previous campaigns earned the 28-year-old a one-year contract to stay in Green Bay in 2022, where he will once again be counted on as the team’s top tight end. Given the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Tonyan should be in line for a larger role in the team’s passing attack.
Watson profiles as a direct replacement on the perimeter for the team’s departed wideouts. The second-rounder was a surprising addition to the PUP list last month, given that an injury wasn’t specified in his case. He will likely shoulder a large workload given the lack of veterans ahead of him on the depth chart, and the prolific numbers he put up at North Dakota State.
Today’s news doesn’t guarantee, of course, that any of the trio will be active in time for the start of the regular season. Their activation gives them a chance to play, however, which will be a welcomed sight as the Packers look to contend once again for a Super Bowl.