Packers Surprisingly Cut Veteran CB, Add OLB to Practice Squad

Packers Cut Dunbar

Getty Cornerback Quinton Dunbar #22 of the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 37-34 in overtime.

The Green Bay Packers must not have seen much potential in Quinton Dunbar.

On Tuesday, October 19, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst surprisingly announced that Dunbar had been released from their practice squad to clear room for the addition of outside linebacker Aaron Adeoye.

Dunbar had only just signed to their practice squad on October 13 and looked like he could eventually become a candidate for elevation with injuries plaguing the Packers’ cornerback room. Now, he is looking for work once again after getting waived from a team’s practice squad for a third time this season, failing to impress in both Detroit and Arizona prior to his arrival in Green Bay.

As for the 28-year-old Adeoye, he provides the Packers with additional depth at outside linebacker while they await word on Preston Smith’s injury. They have already been forced to play nearly all of the 2021 season with All-Pro outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, but losing their other Smith on the edge would significantly hamper the pass-rushing capabilities of their defense. In the meantime, it can’t hurt to have another fresh body learning the system in case reinforcements are needed for the active roster.

There is still one spot currently open on the Packers’ 53-man roster from when they placed wide receiver Malik Taylor on the reserve/COVID-19 list over the weekend, but it remains to be seen whether they will attempt to fill it. They could simply leave it open until Taylor returns as they did with Tyler Lancaster earlier in the season.

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Could Dunbar’s Release Signal Good Injury News?

Dunbar seemed like a solid backup plan for the Packers to stash on their practice squad, especially with multiple veteran cornerbacks on the mend. He’s had some injuries and other issues in recent seasons, but he has also recorded seven interceptions and 22 pass deflections in his last 24 performances and demonstrated far more playmaking ability than Isaac Yiadom or Rasul Douglas throughout his career.

It is possible that Dunbar’s release is linked to good news the Packers have received about their other veteran cornerbacks, though.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters on October 18 that he did not believe King would need to be placed on injured reserve (and miss a minimum of three weeks) with the shoulder injury that has left him sidelined since the fourth quarter of Week 5, which would seem to suggest that he may return to the lineup in the next week or two. King might not always be the most popular cornerback for fans, but he is likely an upgrade from what they’re getting in Yiadom and Douglas.

The Packers will also be eligible to return Jaire Alexander from injured reserve on October 30, meaning they might only have to play two more games without him depending on how his recovery is going. The Packers had initially said they would re-evaluate Alexander’s injury after two weeks, but there have been no updates thus far.

Dunbar’s release feels a bit surprising right now, but it could make a lot more sense in the next couple of weeks if the Packers are back to (or near) full strength again.

Adeoye Has Little Experience But Intriguing Skill Set

At this point in his career, Adeoye is more impressive for his background than his on-field production in the NFL. He saw just one elevation opportunity during two years on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad, playing a total of 16 snaps (half on special teams) but recording no tackles in that span. He also underwhelmed this summer during his brief stint with the New York Jets, recording one tackle but missing another in their preseason finale before getting cut loose at the 53-man roster deadline.

Nevertheless, Adeoye has intriguing potential as an athlete who didn’t even start playing college football until his senior year. He spent his previous years of eligibility as a 6-foot-6 forward for numerous college basketball programs, including Ball State (2011-12), Western Kentucky (2013-14) and Southeast Missouri State (2014-15). Over his 92 career games, Adeoye averaged 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds.

Basketball skills don’t always transfer over onto the gridiron, but the Packers might see something in Adeoye now that he has several more seasons of football structure on his resume. In addition to his two seasons with the Ravens, Adeoye also played in other leagues such as Champions Indoor Football (CIF) and the now-defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF) since graduating in 2016.

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