Who Might Not Survive the Packers Final Roster Cut in 2011?
But with a roster full to the brim in depth, several players that are currently on the roster won’t be making it back for 2011. Here a list of the players who may not be back on the Packers 53-man roster next season.
Also, to keep this post away from free agency, players not currently under contract were excluded from this list.
LB Nick Barnett
His situation remains one of the trickier to assess. Are the Packers going to float his name in trade discussions? And would any team bite at a price that makes sense?
Either way, his $6 million contract and recent demotion makes him an expensive backup. The Packers have a tough decision to make regarding Barnett’s future in Green Bay if they don’t trade him. A straight up release could be in the cards.
T Mark Tauscher
With the Packers taking Derek Sherrod in the first round, Tauscher becomes even more expendable. And even without a high draft pick on the roster, there was a chance the Packers weren’t going to bring him back.
He’s almost 34 years old, hasn’t been healthy in three years and is owed over $4 million next season. The only chance he has of returning is if he takes a substantial pay cut.
RB Dimitri Nance
Nance’s future might be solely tied into the free agent dealings with Brandon Jackson. If Jackson returns, there’d likely be little-to-no chance the Packers could afford using another roster spot on a running back.
But if Jackson isn’t retained, the Packers might be able to squeeze four running backs—Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green and Nance—onto the roster. He’ll have to sit and wait. He could ultimately be a candidate for the practice squad, however.
TE Tom Crabtree
It pains me to say it, as he has quickly become a fan favorite, but Crabtree will have to really fight for his spot during training camp. Of course, that is nothing new to him. But the Packers did take two tight ends in the draft, and it’s possible that both D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor could bring more to the football table than Crabtree.
But that also brings up another interesting discussion. If Crabtree earns a spot, could the Packers really keep five tight ends on the roster?
G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith
Dietrich-Smith was beaten out by Nick McDonald during camp in 2010, which goes to show his roster spot is far from guaranteed. And while his ability to play both center and guard is appealing, the Packers have other options at spots.
He’ll get the chance to win a place on the 53-man roster, but Dietrich-Smith might be a long shot at this point.
DT Justin Harrell
Harrell will always be a black eye on Thompson’s draft record, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to get another chance at proving he can play in the NFL.
It does mean he’s on thin ice, however, and he’s going to need a really good (and healthy) camp to get that chance. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field long enough to prove what kind of player he really is.
LB Brady Poppinga
The fact is simple: soon-to-be 32-year old linebackers who are coming back from blown out knees are long shots to make NFL rosters. Unfortunately, Poppinga fits that mold.
And with an influx of younger linebackers set to make the roster, Poppinga’s time has likely run out in Green Bay.
CB Brandon Underwood
You could put Pat Lee in this same category, but he made enough of an impact during the Super Bowl to warrant another opportunity. Underwood, on the other hand, can’t say the same.
He has all the physical attributes you want in a cornerback, but he’s never been able to put it all together. Now that Davon House is on the roster, Underwood will likely have to beat out Lee for a spot on this team.
LB Diryal Briggs
While Briggs was actually one of the better special teams players down the stretch, he is limited physically and doesn’t offer much potential in the defense. The Packers have better options now that players have returned from IR, and it’d be a surprise to see him make the 53-man roster.
Yet with his showing on special teams late in the season, Briggs might warrant a look on the practice squad.
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2