Packers still have 35 roster spots to fill before training camp
Before teams whittle down their rosters to just 53, they first spend a few months building them up to 90 players for the start of offseason programs and training camp. For the Green Bay Packers, they have a lot of work to do in that regard.
At the moment, the Packers have 55 players under contract for the 2023 season, meaning that, in the coming months, 35 more players will be added to the team.
Including compensatory draft picks, Green Bay is projected to have 11 in total this year. When it comes to undrafted free agent signings, a team can really sign as many or as few players as they please. Last year, for example, the Packers made 14 initial post-draft signings.
Then there is free agency. From a salary cap perspective, the Packers are going to be limited in what they can spend and likely won’t be making any splash signings, they will have to utilize free agency to build their depth at several positions, which should include receiver, safety, and tight end to name a few. In 2022, Green Bay made seven free-agent additions during the first few weeks of free agency. It’s also important to keep in mind that a free-agent signing doesn’t mean that the player is brand new to the Packers either; it could be a player with an expired contract who returns.
Beyond the first month of free agency, the draft, and the initial wave of undrafted rookie signings, the Packers will, in all likelihood, add some players here and there through the months of May, June, and July to round out their 90-man roster. Last May specifically, Green Bay claimed Eli Wolf and Chris Slayton off waivers and signed Kobe Jones as well as Jack Coco. They then continued to churn the roster into late July, signing Dallin Leavitt along with making four other additions as well as four cuts right before training camp began.
Everything just described will take up precious salary cap space, which will be a limited resource for the Packers again. Although the roster will swell to 90 players, only the top-51 contracts count towards the salary cap prior to rosters being set before week one.
As of now, Green Bay’s top 51 contracts in terms of value have them sitting at $6.4 million under the salary cap after restructuring the contracts of Aaron Jones, Jaire Alexander, and Preston Smith. However, money spent in free agency, on the draft class and practice squad, as well as in-season, hasn’t been factored into that $6.5 million total, so more moves will have to be made to give the Packers the necessary operating room needed for a regular NFL season.
With 35 roster spots to fill, I imagine just about every position will be filled in some capacity in the coming months. Positions where the Packers could use a veteran presence include receiver, interior defensive lineman, safety, tight end, and potentially quarterback if Jordan Love is the starter. You can read more on the reasoning here. As far as the draft goes, each of those positions, minus quarterback, could be addressed in the early rounds as well, along with edge rusher. Adding competition at kicker and long-snapper should also be on the to-do list. Again, for a more in-depth look at why, click here.
As Brian Gutekunst has said in the past, roster building is a 365-day-a-year job, and Gutey is always churning the bottom portion of the roster. Naturally, just about all of the attention is on free agency and the early portions of the draft as we all search for upgrades for this Packers team. But overall, Green Bay still has a lot of roster spots to fill–35 to be exact. Some of the players added will make an impact. And others are there for training camp with the hope of making the practice squad.
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