In a surprising move, the Green Bay Packers will be waiving quarterback Kurt Benkert, by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Benkert joined the Packers last spring after working at their rookie minicamp during a period where Aaron Rodgers’ future seemed uncertain and the team was bringing in quarterbacks like Blake Bortles and Chad Kelly. While Benkert only saw regular-season action kneeling the ball to end games, he was on the practice squad or active roster for every week of the 2021 season.
With Benkert out, the Packers will only have three quarterbacks under contract: Rodgers, Jordan Love and Danny Etling. Etling has had two stints in Green Bay, with the first coming when the team signed him for a week in December when Love was placed on the Covid / Reserve list. He then signed with Jacksonville’s practice squad but signed a futures deal with the Packers when the season ended.
With practice squads permanently expanded to the 16 spots that the Covid era brought in, it would be a shock if the Packers did not use a practice squad spot on a quarterback. The question now is “Is that Danny Etling?” Etling, as recently as two years ago, was being converted to the receiver position and is on his eighth team in five years as a professional.
The timing of this move is also odd. Do the Packers need an extra roster spot for a signing or are they simply over the Benkert experiment? It should be noted that the United States Football League’s last week of the regular season is this upcoming weekend, meaning players on non-playoff teams will be available to sign with NFL teams immediately. As we’ve seen over the years, Green Bay is not above signing players who have come off stints with Canadian, arena or startup leagues.