It was recently reported that the Green Bay Packers cut defensive lineman, Gerald Willis, and likely more pre-training camp cuts will follow.
The only certainty right now is uncertainty as the NFL and teams try to navigate a season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. And unfortunately, this sentiment rings especially true for many fringe roster players around the league, including on the Green Bay Packers.
Under normal circumstances, teams have 90-man rosters at the beginning of training camp before having to cut down to the usual 53 for Week 1. This year, however, it was recently reported by Albert Breer that when it comes to roster size heading into camp, teams have two options.
They can either keep the roster at the usual 90 players but have to hold split-squad practices – with vets in one group and rookies and rehab guys in the other – until August 16th where then they will whittle the roster down to 80 at that point. Or they can begin training camp with 80 players and not have to have separate practices.
For safety reasons and for some sort of continuity with everyone participating in practice together, I imagine every team is going to start camp with just 80 players on the roster rather than 90. And when it comes to the Green Bay Packers, they appear to be going that route as well as it was reported on Sunday evening that they had cut defensive lineman Gerald Willis.
Willis was a productive player at the University of Miami before going undrafted in 2019. He spent the preseason in Baltimore before eventually ending up on the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad. At the end of the season, he saw limited action taking 19 snaps and totaling two tackles and two quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
While some question the depth of Green Bay’s defensive line behind Kenny Clark, it is a full room, still made up of the aforementioned Clark, along with Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, Kingsley Keke, Treyvon Hester, Tyler Lancaster, Willington Previlon, and Jamal Davis.
Willis was claimed off waivers by Green Bay earlier this year, and given the circumstances, he hadn’t even set foot in the Packers’ facilities before being cut. This, unfortunately, is the reality that several hundred players around the NFL may face this season.
Willis appears to have been the first domino to fall, and with Green Bay’s roster currently sitting at 89 players following this move, we should expect several more cuts to be made before training camp opens up.
In an unusual year, familiarity with the Packers’ system, both offensively and defensively, along with NFL experience is going to be important. So as we await any new names to be added to this list, keep your eyes on the undrafted free agents and any low-key additions that were made this offseason.