The Green Bay Packers have cut loose another two players from their active roster as they continue to trim their numbers ahead of their first NFL training camp practices.
The Packers released fullback Jordan Jones, a 2020 undrafted free agent, and 2018 fifth-round offensive lineman Cole Madison on Friday afternoon, cutting their active roster down to just 83 players with four additional players on the COVID-19 reserve list. New NFL guidelines require them to downsize to 80 players before Aug. 16 in order to begin full-squad practices.
Madison’s NFL career has struggled to gain much momentum in the two years since the Packers drafted him. He sat out his entire rookie season in 2018 to deal with personal issues and then, after returning in 2019 and earning a spot as a backup interior lineman, saw his second season end in November with an ACL tear in practice.
The Packers’ commitment with Jones was far briefer, as the former Prairie View A&M signed his UDFA contract with the Packers in April and never got the opportunity to practice for his first NFL coaches before his release. The rookie fullback may yet find his chance with another team this preseason, but the Packers could also be inclined to stay in touch if he remains available after training camp.
The NFL will reportedly increase the size of practice-squad rosters from 12 to 16 players this season with easier mobility between the active roster, which means teams making tough decisions right now regarding first-year players may offer some callbacks in September.
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Madison Was Facing Uphill Battle in Training Camp
Madison was already considered to be on the training camp bubble heading into his third preseason with the Packers, especially after fellow interior lineman Lucas Patrick stepped into the backup role following Madison’s injury and earned himself a two-year contract extension.
The Packers do have some questions to answer regarding their offensive line, but Madison’s pre-camp release suggests they are more interested in testing out fresh talent than seeing if the former fifth-round pick can rebound in Year 3. All three of the Packers’ sixth-round draft picks were used on interior linemen with another signing as an undrafted free agent, bringing four rookies into a competition circle.
In addition to Patrick, the Packers also return backup guard/tackle Alex Light and former starter Lane Taylor, who took a pay cut this offseason after missing the 2019 season with an injury and is expected to compete with Billy Turner for the starting right guard.
The sturdiest pieces of the interior — center Corey Linsley and All-Rookie left guard Elgton Jenkins — remain in place for the 2020 season, but Linsley’s impending free agency next offseason could lead to the Packers auditioning possible replacements throughout the coming year. While there is no certainty that Linsley would be leaving in 2021, he could end up drawing the short stick with David Bakhtiari, Kevin King, Aaron Jones and Kenny Clark each looking to sign new contracts with the Packers.