Packers GM Gutekunst says roster is a ‘fluid situation’
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brian Gutekunst knows his first 53-man roster as general manager of the Packers is a bit imbalanced.
And, there still could be changes in advance of Green Bay’s regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sept. 9.
But Gutekunst doesn’t have an issue with having a whopping eight wide receivers on the team. Or, four tight ends and three quarterbacks — while having only two running backs and only four outside linebackers at the moment.
“It’s a puzzle and there’s 53 you can keep on the active roster and then you can keep (10) on the practice squad,” Gutekunst said Sunday, a day after he released 32 players, waived/injured three more and placed running back Aaron Jones on the reserve/suspended list.
“That’s a little bit more the way we look at it,” he added. “And as we were going through, we were just trying to keep the best 53 that would be available for this week’s game. Again, it’s a fluid situation that changes day by day.”
Running back would appear to be the most fluid as the team kept only Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery, with Jones set to miss the first two games because of an NFL-imposed suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Packers did add Joel Bouagnon, who was cut Saturday after spending the offseason and training camp with the team, to the practice squad Sunday.
“That’s maybe still in the works a little bit, but the two that we kept, we like,” Gutekunst said. “Aaron going on suspension, that’s not a great thing for us. That kind of put us in that spot. But that may be a little bit of an evolving position for us, as well.
“That’s the thing about our roster right now, nothing’s set in stone. It’s still fluid and it will be all season. That’s just kind of the way it is in the NFL.”
Gutekunst also intimated that the Packers put in a handful of waiver claims but were not awarded any players. After their 7-9 finish a year ago, the Packers were 14th in waiver claim priority.
This marked the Packers’ first roster cutdown since Gutekunst was elevated to GM in January after Ted Thompson, his predecessor and mentor, transitioned into an advisory role. Gutekunst had been in the Packers’ scouting department for two decades, including the last six as one of Thompson’s top lieutenants.
Meanwhile, Gutekunst refused to discuss specifics about the Packers’ involvement in trade talks with Oakland for defensive end Khalil Mack, who went to the Packers’ NFC North rivals, the Chicago Bears, in a deal Saturday. The Packers were reportedly among the teams to make an offer on Mack, but the Raiders ultimately accepted the Bears’ offer, which included first-round picks in 2019 and 2020.
“A lot of discussions happen more than deals get done,” Gutekunst said. “My thought process is always winning. Does this help us win? And if it does, then we’re going to pursue it and see if we can make it work. Again, I’ve talked about things being a puzzle and you have to make it fit. And you certainly don’t want to put yourself in a bind going forward.
“But we’re here to win now. I think as you go through that, it’s really about that. Does this certain decision, this certain player, does it help you win? And if it does, then we’ll attack that and see if we can make it work. (But) when you go through those things it’s a two-way street. It has to work that way. That’s kind of how I look at it.”