Packers Release Rookie, Make New Receiver Signing Official

Packers Sign Turner Official

Getty Malik Turner #17 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after catching a first quarter touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Malik Turner is officially a member of the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers announced the signing of the former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver less than 24 hours after NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported Turner was on his way to Green Bay. They also released undrafted rookie safety Frankie Griffin in an offsetting move that keeps their training camp roster in line with new NFL guidelines.

Turner, 24, caught 15 passes for 245 yards and his first career touchdown during the 2019 season while playing on just 22% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps, but his struggle with drops late in the season hurt his reputation. He had one critical drop against the Packers in the fourth quarter of the NFC divisional-round game last January, which helped deflate the Seahawks’ comeback efforts.

The expectation for the first few months of the offseason was Turner would be back in Seattle to continue his development in 2020. Then, in April, the Seahawks withdrew their exclusive rights tender on the third-year wideout’s contract, allowing him to become a free agent.

Now, Turner will look to compete for a spot on the Packers’ roster with a crowded group of wideouts who — apart from star Davante Adams — do not possess much NFL experience. He wore No. 17 for the Seahawks but will wear No. 82 for the Packers.

Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Griffin Becomes Victim of Roster Circumstances

Griffin could have been an interesting prospect for the Packers secondary. He racked up 67 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks at linebacker during his final season at Texas State, adding two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick while on special teams.

Griffin’s background as an All-District safety in high school, though, made him a versatile piece to consider for the Packers, who listed him officially as a safety on their roster. It is possible he might have been assessed for a hybrid role, perhaps a dime linebacker like Raven Greene has played in the past. Unfortunately, the shrinkage from 90 to 80 players on the training camp roster this summer left Griffin limited opportunities to make his case.

The Packers currently have 79 players on their active roster with expectations that wide receiver Travis Fulgham — who the team claimed off the waivers this week from Detroit, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky — will bring the total to 80. There are also five players on the COVID-19 reserve list who will need roster spaces cleared for them when they are re-activated.

Why Turner?

Fans might cringe about the idea of bringing in a wide receiver who ended his season in drops hell, but Turner’s history fits well with much of the other cast in the Packers’ receiving room. He is a young receiver with correctable flaws who has delivered moments of good but not yet with enough consistency to truly create a regular place for himself.

The same types of things could be said about most of the Packers’ receivers behind Adams. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a speedy, long-ball specialist for the first half of the 2019 season, then disappeared into a non-factor for the backstretch. Equanimeous St. Brown delivered strong rookie numbers in 2018 and followed up with a strong preseason last year, but a season-ending injury has left some questions yet unanswered about how he will bounce back.

Even Allen Lazard, the hottest new thing to come out of the Packers’ receiving room in 2019, was virtually unknown at this time last preseason. It took him several weeks just to make the active roster after missing out on the initial roster cut, and he finished as the team’s second-most productive wideout.

The other thing Turner has in common with most of the Packers’ receivers: he costs them very little money. According to projections from salary cap guru Ken Ingalls, Turner is expected to come to the Packers on a minimum player contract that would see him earn a base salary of $750,000. Being a third-year player, he would also be easy to retain next year if he worked out.

Turner did have a big career at the University of Illinois, finishing as the ninth-most receiving yards (1,804) and ninth-most receptions (143) in program history against primarily Big Ten competition. He was frequently low on the depth chart in Seattle with other, more established receiving options at Russell Wilson’s disposal, but a bigger role with Green Bay could see him find his stride and replicate some of his college success.

READ NEXT: Packers Pegged for High-Profile Trade to Land Panthers WR