Packers Release Veteran Safety From Injured Reserve

Will Redmond Released

Getty Will Redmond #25 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a play against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California.

Will Redmond’s time with the Green Bay Packers has run its course.

On Monday, November 22, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst waived Redmond from the team’s injured reserve list. The 27-year-old safety had played in 35 games over the past three seasons with the Packers as a rotational member of their secondary and a key contributor on special teams, but he suffered a turf toe injury during training camp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve as a result.

While players who end up on IR prior to the 53-man roster cutdown are not eligible to return to their original team for the duration of the season, Redmond’s release gives him the chance to sign with another team and see the field at some point in 2021.

The Packers brought back Redmond on a one-year contract for the 2021 season, looking to keep together as much of their 2020 roster as they could in order to make another deep run in the playoffs. It had been expected he would compete for one of their top backup safety jobs behind Darnell Savage Jr. and Adrian Amos in camp, but he began the summer on the non-football injury list and was done for good by August 24.

In Redmond’s absence, Henry Black has stepped up to fill his shoes in the rotation and played in all 11 games this season; though, with somewhat mixed results both as a tackler and in coverage. The Packers also have Vernon Scott, a 2020 seventh-round pick, on their active roster, but he missed the first four games while recovering from a hamstring injury and has been a healthy scratch in every game since he was removed from the injury report.

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Packers Valued Redmond for Special Teams Play

Redmond wasn’t exactly a head-turner on defense for the Packers. He backed up their safety position and regularly fulfilled the nickel cornerback role for Mike Pettine’s defense over the past few seasons, but his real value was on special teams. He played on more than 400 snaps in the third phase between 2019 and 2020, which Packers head coach Matt LaFleur indicated was a reason why they re-signed him for a veteran-minimum deal during the 2021 offseason.

“Will is a versatile guy,” LaFleur said on August 24. “He has the ability to play in the box when we go to (our) dime (defense), or play as a deep safety. He has the corner background so he can get you out of a game there. His contribution on special teams, he’s been consistently our best special teamer over two years here. He’s an impact player in that phase of the game.”

Redmond’s NFL Window is Closing

Redmond may now have an opportunity to find work elsewhere in the NFL, but he could be hard-pressed to do so given how the first five and a half years of his career have played out. He was considered one of the top cornerback prospects coming into the 2016 NFL draft and, despite tearing his ACL in his final season at Mississippi State, proved promising enough for the San Francisco 49ers to take him in the third round.

Unfortunately, Redmond’s injury troubles persisted in the big leagues. He suffered a knee injury before the start of his rookie season and spent his entire first year on injured reserve. Then, after recovering and attempting a comeback in 2017, he injured his ankle and once again began the year on IR. The Niners ultimately decided to cut their losses in October 2017 without ever getting to see Redmond in regular-season action.

Redmond also dealt with multiple injuries during his time with the Packers. He latched on with their practice squad in September 2018 after being unable to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ active roster and went on to play the first five regular-season games of his NFL career, but a shoulder injury forced him to finish his season on IR. That’s a total of four trips to injured reserve in five years in the league, which could make it difficult for him to find a new team — especially with him turning 29 next month.

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