Packers: WR Bailey Gaither Retires & TE Daniel Crawford is Signed

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 28: Daniel Crawford #88 of the Northern Illinois Huskies is chased by Dimitri Moore #7 of the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 28: Daniel Crawford #88 of the Northern Illinois Huskies is chased by Dimitri Moore #7 of the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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In some surprising news, we learned from Ryan Wood of Packers News on Tuesday morning that rookie wide receiver Bailey Gaither had retired. Gaither was a UDFA signing made by the Green Bay Packers following this year’s draft.

He was an experienced five-year player coming out of San Jose State, who was targeted 232 times over his career while hauling in 58.2 percent of those passes at an impressive 16.5 yards per catch with 18 touchdowns.

While training camp practices for the Green Bay Packers are only a week old, Gaither had already made a few standout plays and looked like someone with a legitimate shot at making the practice squad.

At the same time we found out that Gaither had retired, we learned that the Green Bay Packers had signed tight end Daniel Crawford from Northern Illinois.

Crawford, who is listed at 6’2” – 251 pounds, went undrafted following the 2021 NFL draft. He has four years of playing experience at Northern Illinois, with a bulk of his snaps coming over his final two seasons—he missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL.

During that span, Crawford was targeted 74 times and caught 78 percent of those passes while averaging 10.8 yards per catch and with three touchdowns, according to PFF ($$).

Given how important blocking from both the tight end and receiver positions are to the Matt LaFleur offense, it’s also worth noting that this may be an area that Crawford will really need to improve upon. His run-blocking grades from PFF during his final two years of college were well below average.

As a tight end, Crawford’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS) — which is based on his measurements and times from his Pro-Day — is below average at 4.62. But as a fullback, his RAS jumps to 6.81.

His athletic profile coupled with his ability to move around the formation — playing 32 percent of his snaps from the slot in college — could make him a good fit for the H-back role in this Matt LaFleur offense.

Dominique Dafney, who filled a similar role last season in Josiah Deguara’s absence, currently finds himself on the PUP list and when he will return is an unknown at this time—which is likely a big reason why Crawford was signed.