Green Bay Packers Will Need to Add Another Edge Rusher & Running Back

Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst talks on the phone during practice on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Gpg Packerspractice 091218 Abw158
Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst talks on the phone during practice on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Gpg Packerspractice 091218 Abw158 /

Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. After already dealing with numerous injuries this season, the Green Bay Packers suffered three more during Sunday’s win against Seattle. Over the course of action, Whitney Mercilus, Aaron Jones, and Rashan Gary would all leave with various injuries.

We have since learned that Mercilus is done for the season with a torn biceps, while fortunately, Jones’ and Gary’s injuries appear to be much less severe. Jones sprained his MCL and is expected to miss only 1-2 weeks, while Gary escaped without any break and ligament damage to his elbow–although he still has to undergo further testing. In fact, it’s been reported that Gary hopes to play as soon as this Sunday, but that remains to be seen.

Either way, as a result of these injuries, we are going to see the Green Bay Packers add a running back and an edge rusher at some point in the near future.

With Jones sidelined, the Packers are left with AJ Dillon and Patrick Taylor on the 53-man roster and Ryquell Armstead on the practice squad. Now, we know that Dillon is going to take a bulk of the snaps, but Taylor will be there to spell him when needed — as I wrote recently, Taylor is an excellent fit for the LaFleur offense — but Green Bay will need to add a third running back to the roster.

They can choose to promote Armstead, who was signed to the practice squad on November 3rd and has 35 career carries — all of which came in 2019 — sign a street-free agent, or sign a running back off another team’s practice squad to the active roster. Regardless of which path Brian Gutekunst chooses, another running back will be added.

At edge rusher, with Mercilus out and Gary banged up, Green Bay is once again thin at this key position. During Monday’s press conference, Matt LaFleur mentioned that the Packers are going to make an addition to bolster the depth.

In addition to Gary and Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin has 268 snaps this season with 16 pressures and two sacks, according to PFF ($$), but at a minimum, a team needs four edge rushers on the roster.

So the Packers could look to elevate Tipa Galeai off the practice, in which case, his spot on the practice squad would likely be replaced by another edge rusher, or Green Bay could make an outside addition via free agency or from another team’s practice squad.

One name in particular to watch is La’Darius Hamilton, who was on the Packers’ 53-man roster up until as recently as Saturday before he was cut. He appeared in three games this season for Green Bay. Another name, and one that I’m sure is on the radar of Packers fans, is Olivier Vernon, who is still a free agent after tearing his Achilles late last season—although, we don’t know if there is any interest on Green Bay’s part.

In each instance, these additions will be made for depth purposes — either a back end of the roster or practice squad replacement — so I wouldn’t be expecting any sort of big move. In terms of salary cap space, the Green Bay Packers still have $4.71 million available, according to Over the Cap, plenty of room for two more additions–especially when they very likely won’t break the bank.

The Green Bay Packers have done an excellent job of overcoming injuries this season, and they are now going to have to find a way to overcome a few more, which all starts by adding to the edge rusher and running back rooms.