August 23rd, 2021 at 1:49pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
As teams trim their rosters down to the required 80 players, the Packers have made a notable cut. Green Bay has waived linebacker Kamal Martin, a source told Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Martin was a fifth-round pick of the team just last year, and his release raised plenty of eyebrows. Numerous Packers beat writers were quick to express surprise that Martin wasn’t even able to make it to final cuts. The Minnesota product was running with the ones for a lot of last offseason, and he started six games for the Pack in 2020.
It is pretty rare for a guy to go from six-game starter to released well before final cuts in the span of one year, especially when there was no coaching change with the team. Martin had 24 tackles, three for a loss, and one sack in 10 games last year.
Normally an inside linebacker, the team was trying him out at outside linebacker earlier this training camp, which in hindsight would’ve been a sign he was battling for his roster spot.
The Packers announced that they’ve signed fifth-round linebacker Kamal Martin to his rookie contract.
Martin may have been drafted earlier than the fifth round were it not for a knee injury that cost him several games during his senior season at Minnesota. The 6’3″, 240-pounder eventually underwent surgery and missed the combine, but former NFL scout and Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy tweeted that Martin would have a been a top-three senior linebacker had his medical history been less checkered.
Despite missing games in 2019, Martin was still named honorable mention All-Big-10 after posting 66 tackles and two interceptions in eight contests. Nagy says Martin is a prototypically “long and athletic space linebacker” who could prove to be something of a steal for Green Bay.
The Packers now have just two members of their 2020 draft class that remain unsigned. Here’s the full list: