November 15th, 2021 at 3:27pm CST by Zachary Links
Well, that didn’t last long. On Monday, the Packers released quarterback Blake Bortles from the practice squad. In a related move, they’ve reinstated fellow QB Kurt Benkert from the taxi squad’s COVID-19 list.
Bortles signed with the Packers on November 3, just after Aaron Rodgers‘ COVID-19 positive. Brought in to provide an extra layer of insurance behind Jordan Love, he’ll leave after just a handful of scrimmages.
Bortles, once groomed to be the future franchise face of the Jaguars, hasn’t seen live action since his three-game 2019 season. Last year, he spent some time with the Broncos, but didn’t make it into a game.
Bortles, 29, owns a 24-49 regular season record as a starter. At this point, it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever get an opportunity to make another start. He may, however, find another practice squad opportunity elsewhere.
To date, his 2017 campaign stands as his best. That year, he was under center for the Jaguars’ run to the AFC title game and subsequent loss to the Patriots.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
The Packers worked out Benkert and Chad Kelly at their rookie minicamp; it appears they will choose Benkert to be their fourth QB. This will mark Benkert’s second NFL team. He spent the past three seasons with the Falcons.
A 2018 UDFA, Benkert played two seasons at East Carolina and Virginia. He started two seasons for the Cavaliers, throwing 46 touchdown passes between his junior and senior seasons. The Falcons used him as roster depth behind Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub but moved in a different direction this offseason. The Falcons waived Benkert in February.
With Aaron Rodgers wanting out, Jordan Lovestood alone at this position coming into the week. The Packers now have some depth ahead of the on-field portion of their OTA workouts and minicamp. Should the Rodgers stalemate drag into the late summer, the team has a potential third-string option in Benkert.
Two quarterbacks will be reporting to Green Bay this weekend, and neither are named Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will host Chad Kelly and Kurt Benkert at their rookie minicamp this weekend for tryouts, sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). They’ll be the only two signal-callers brought in for now, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets.
The Packers currently only have two passers on the roster, Rodgers and Jordan Love. Rodgers likely isn’t showing up any time soon, meaning they really only currently have one guy willing to throw the ball for them. As such, they’ll be signing at least a quarterback or two soon, as GM Brian Gutekunst recently acknowledged. Kelly and Benkert will get the first cracks at being those guys.
Kelly is well known to many football fans for being the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, and for his rollercoaster college career that had plenty of ups and downs (including some off-field issues). The Broncos drafted Kelly with the final pick of the 2017 draft, and he was released midway through the 2018 season after getting arrested for trespassing.
After serving a two-game suspension for that he was with the Colts the past two seasons, mostly on the practice squad. Benkert is a 2018 UDFA from Virginia, who has spent the past three seasons with the Falcons. He’s mostly been on Atlanta’s practice squad, and was waived back in February.