The Green Bay Packers are circling back for another look at 2020 fourth-round quarterback James Morgan as they prepare for the possibility of shutting down starter Aaron Rodgers at some point before the end of the 2022 season.
According to the NFL’s official transaction wire for November 29, the Packers hosted Morgan — a Green Bay native and former New York Jets backup — for a roster workout on Tuesday along with five other tight ends, several of which were undrafted rookies. The Packers also signed safety Innis Gaines from the practice squad to the active roster.
Morgan originally worked out for the Packers back on July 27 during their first public training-camp practice of the summer, but the team opted to stick with Danny Etling as their third-string option behind Rodgers and first-round backup Jordan Love. Now, with Rodgers dealing with a broken thumb and a new ribs injury, the Packers are revisiting the former Florida International quarterback as a potential addition for their ranks.
Packers Sign New Tight End to Practice Squad
The Packers didn’t end up signing Morgan to their active roster or practice squad after working him out on Tuesday, but they did add one of the tight ends — second-year Nick Guggemos — to fill the practice-squad vacancy left behind by Gaines’ promotion.
Guggemos signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2021 coming out of the University of St. Thomas-Minnesota, but he didn’t stick around long enough to see any action in the preseason. While he has also spent time with the Washington Commanders and Cleveland Browns, he is still waiting for his chance to take his first NFL snaps, in either the preseason, regular season or postseason.
The Packers don’t necessarily need another hand on deck at tight end as far as their active roster is concerned, but they did part ways with rookie Josh Babicz on November 25 ahead of their matchup with the Eagles. Perhaps, Guggemos — who is 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds — presents more developmental value as the Packers look to the future.
Will Packers Shut Down Rodgers If Eliminated?
Rodgers said Tuesday on his weekly appearance on The Pat McAfee Show that he plans to play for the Packers (4-8) against the Chicago Bears (3-9) in Week 13 after getting “good scans” on his injured ribs to start the week, so it seems unlikely that the Packers would consider benching him with their playoff hopes not quite extinguished yet. Rodgers, however, indicated in Sunday’s postgame against the Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) that he would be open to having conversations about potentially getting shut down if the team was eliminated from the playoff race before the end of the regular season.
If eliminated with games left on the schedule, the Packers could feel obligated to take advantage of their misfortune and start Love over Rodgers to see what they might have in their controversial former first-round pick. Love has still only started one game — in 2021 against the Kansas City Chiefs — over his three-season NFL career and will need a decision from the Packers about his 2024 fifth-year option by early May. If they can get him a few more starts before making that call, all the better for the franchise’s future.
Should the Packers get eliminated and shut down Rodgers in the coming month, they will need to solidify their backup plan behind Love moving forward. Etling did his part in winning that job during the offseason and would be the first choice to ascend to the active roster as Love’s primary backup, but the Packers would most likely still want to add another quarterback for emergency purposes. If Morgan can make the right impression, he might get a call down the road from the team.