Packers Sign Ex-Patriots QB With Jordan Love Out of Lineup

Etling Signing Packers

Getty Danny Etling #5 of the New England Patriots passes against the New York Giants during a preseason NFL game at MetLife Stadium on August 30, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Green Bay Packers have made a few changes to their quarterback room with backup Jordan Love currently unavailable at practice.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst elevated third-string quarterback Kurt Benkert from the practice squad to the active roster on Tuesday, December 7, as a COVID-19 replacement for Week 14’s game against the Chicago Bears. The Packers also signed fourth-year quarterback Danny Etling to temporarily take Benkert’s practice-squad spot and bring their room back up to three healthy options.

The Packers originally scoped out Etling in Week 9 when they hosted him for a roster workout while preparing to face the Kansas City Chiefs with both Aaron Rodgers and Benkert stuck on the COVID-19 list. While Etling left without a contract, the team evidently saw something of value in his workout and kept him on a reference list for when the next issue arose within their quarterback room.

Previously, Etling was a seventh-round pick for the New England Patriots who spent his entire rookie season in 2018 learning behind Tom Brady from the practice squad. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback has also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings and briefly played in the CFL for the BC Lions.

Etling has not yet appeared in an NFL game, but he has seen preseason action for both the Patriots and Falcons. His career passing tally is 37-of-69 with 371 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions over five preseason games.

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Benkert Was Logical Promotion Choice

The Packers’ decision to elevate Benkert should come as no surprise after Love was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, December 6. While it is possible that Love — who has said he is fully vaccinated — will clear the league’s COVID-19 protocol before Sunday night’s home game against the Bears, the Packers need another body to help out at practice with Aaron Rodgers still nursing a fractured pinky toe.

If Rodgers does indeed need more time to treat his toe and sits out of practice, Benkert would expectedly get his biggest opportunity yet in a Packers uniform and handle the majority of the starting reps at quarterback throughout the week of practice.

Nevertheless, the timing of Benkert’s elevation seemed to have more to do with the Packers’ desire to secure a third quarterback for their practice squad. The Packers would have needed to wait until the day before their game against the Bears to promote Benkert if they had gone the route of a standard elevation, but choosing to designate him as a COVID-19 replacement — according to the league’s elevation rules — allows the team to make the move immediately and add Etling without having to cut another player.

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