The Green Bay Packers are bringing back a familiar face to reinforce their defensive line, but not before sending yet another member of the group to injured reserve.
The Packers announced a series of changes to their practice squad on Tuesday afternoon, including the signing of fifth-year defensive tackle Brian Price. He had previously spent time with the Packers in 2016 as a member of their undrafted rookie class, making his active-roster debut in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions.
The Packers also shipped defensive tackle Delontae Scott, an undrafted rookie, to the injured reserve-practice squad to clear space for Price on the 16-man roster. While players on the practice squad are given different designations, Scott’s movement now leaves Green Bay with three defensive linemen on some form of IR, including veteran Billy Winn and Montravius Adams as well.
Additionally, the Packers restored running back Dexter Williams from the same IR-practice squad list and cut offensive tackle Ryan Pope in a corresponding set of moves.
Dexter Williams coming off IR is an interesting case. He was injured while playing a game on an elevated practice squad contract and earned the split-minimum salary for a 1 credited season player for 5 weeks. Now he is healthy and gets a pay cut to return to the practice squad.
— Ken Ingalls – Packers Cap 💰 (@KenIngalls) December 15, 2020
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Price Saw Action in Both Dallas & Cleveland
Price has landed back in Green Bay a little more than three years after getting waived at the 2017 roster cutdown deadline and faces a completely different coaching regime than he knew during his rookie season. Whether he has learned enough to make a difference in his time away, though, is something of a mystery.
The Dallas Cowboys claimed Price off waivers one day after the Packers cut him loose and carried him on their active roster for the first half of the 2017 season, during which time he racked up eight tackles and one quarterback hit on 150 defensive snaps before a knee injury forced him to finish the year on IR.
Price signed a two-year contract extension with the Cowboys just before the start of 2018 free agency and seemed positioned to keep him in mind for deep rotational reps, but the Cowboys gambled at the cutdown deadline and allowed him to hit the waivers — with plans to re-sign him after another went on IR — only for the then-Oakland Raiders to swipe him.
The Raiders only hung onto Price for about two weeks, playing him in one game, before sending him to the waivers again, but the Cleveland Browns showed a more permanent interest and kept him around for the remainder of the 2018 season. He saw action in 12 games with the Browns and recorded 11 tackles with one for a loss.
The downside to Price is that he has not played any live-game snaps since finishing the 2018 season with the Browns. He spent portions of the 2019 season in Indianapolis and Jacksonville as practice-squad depth and then had another knee injury derail his chances of earning the same role again for the Jaguars in 2020.
Scott Hits Speed Bump in Development
The Packers designating Scott for a stint on IR was an unexpected part of Tuesday afternoon; though, mostly because the practice squad is not included in the weekly injury reports and, therefore, doesn’t offer many health updates unless something like this happens. Whatever his injury, though, his Packers future seems likely to live on.
Scott, who played defensive end at SMU, was part of the Packers’ 2020 UDFA haul that was evaluated well enough to be re-signed to the practice squad after September’s cuts. That same group included linebacker Krys Barnes and safety Henry Black, both of whom are now members of the active roster. The Packers have also yet to part ways with a single one of the seven undrafted rookies they retained back then.
It will be interesting to see how the Packers experiment with their defensive line in the final weeks of the regular season with a playoff spot now assured. They won’t necessarily take their foot off the gas, but some of the deeper players on their depth chart could get some additional opportunities as the coaching staff evaluates all of its options heading into the postseason.
Don’t be surprised if the Packers make a game-day elevation or two with either of their defensive linemen, whether it be Price or undrafted rookie Willington Previlon. The latter was already given one temporary promotion back in Week 2; though, he didn’t play.