The tryouts are over, and the Green Bay Packers have a winner.
The Packers have signed former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kurt Benkert for the final spot on their 90-man offseason roster after trying out both him and fellow passer Chad Kelly over the past two days during their 2021 rookie minicamp. He is the second quarterback added to the roster this week after Green Bay officially added veteran Blake Bortles to the roster on May 13.
Benkert — who turns 26 in July — also got to break the news when he posted a celebratory signing photo to his Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
The Packers now have four quarterbacks on their roster as their prepare to head into OTAs, but the participation of Aaron Rodgers, their veteran starter and three-time NFL MVP, remains in question with him and the organization still at odds over his return in 2021. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Rodgers skipped the virtual portion of the team’s offseason.
The latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!
Packers’ QB Additions Come as No Surprise
Professional speculators will probably see the Packers’ signing of two quarterbacks — one a former starter and No. 3 overall pick, the other an undrafted, unproven talent — as a sign of things worsening between the organization and Rodgers, but the additions of Bortles and Benkert shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been listening.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters right after the 2021 NFL draft on May 1 that they would be looking to add at least one more quarterback to the room, indicating their motivations to do so had nothing to do with concerns they have about either Rodgers or Love.
“We’ll have a third arm, and maybe a fourth arm as we go through,” Gutekunst said in his May 1 press conference. “We’ve kind of had some conversations before the draft with some veterans and then some rookie guys we’re looking at as well. But we would never go into camp with two. We’ll at least have three, maybe four.”
The Packers have never shied away from a surplus of camp quarterbacks in the past. Coming into this year, they had signed an undrafted rookie passer in each of the last two draft classes with Manny Wilkins in 2019 and Jalen Morton in 2020. They also carried three quarterbacks on their active roster for all of last season with a hierarchy that had former backup Tim Boyle sandwiched between Rodgers and Love.
Even if the Packers reached a resolution with Rodgers in the coming weeks, it could still make sense for them to retain both Bortles and Benkert from a competitive standpoint. Love has been developing in the background, but more competition should only make him better in the long run, even if he’s only competing for a backup job.