Manny Wilkins’ fate with the Green Bay Packers has been sealed.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst announced the second-year quarterback’s release Monday afternoon just days after trading up in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love at No. 26 overall.
Wilkins, 24, was signed last May as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State and challenged Tim Boyle and DeShone Kizer for the right to back up starter Aaron Rodgers during last year’s training camp. While Wilkins was cut at the roster cutdown deadline, he was signed to the Packers’ practice squad shortly after and remained there for the entire 2019 season.
The Packers are now committed to just three quarterbacks for the 2020 season with Rodgers and Love the hands-down choices for the top two spots. The fact that the Packers played with just two on-roster quarterbacks in 2019 raises questions about Boyle’s security with the team heading into next season with practice-squad designation a strong possibility.
Wilkins’ release also frees up one spot on the Packers’ projected 90-man offseason roster, which is due to add nine drafted players along with 15 undrafted free agents who have reportedly agreed to terms with the team. The move could suggest the Packers are clearing the way for another free-agent signing, which could be one of their still-unsigned free agents.
A few of the Packers’ unsigned veterans would still make sense as roster additions for 2020, including 37-year-old cornerback Tramon Williams and offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Both made notable contributions in 2019 and were still on the market a few days after the draft.
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Will Tim Boyle Remain a Packer for 2020 Season?
Wilkins was the bottom of the totem pole as far as Packers quarterbacks went, so his departure isn’t too surprising in light of Love’s arrival, but Tim Boyle’s future is also on shaky ground.
Boyle, 25, has been impressive in back-to-back preseasons after the Packers originally signed him as an undrafted free agent in May 2018. He was retained for the 53-man roster in his first NFL season as the Packers’ third-string quarterback, then outright defeated Kizer in their 2019 battle for the backup job. Boyle only attempted four passes in three appearances last season, but a healthy Rodgers neutralized any need for serious contributions from him.
Of course, the presence of a first-round talent changes the dynamic entirely. The investment alone in Love would seem to assure him the backup role behind Rodgers, and that doesn’t leave much room left for Boyle. The Packers could always keep him around in a Manny Wilkins-type role as the practice-squad passer, retaining someone who knows the system to safeguard against a possible injury to either Rodgers or Love.
Beyond that, though, Boyle’s options with the Packers are limited — which could mean he is best served exploring opportunities with other NFL teams.