Packers Cut Ties With Veteran RB & Young WR After Win Over Lions

Packers News Roster Moves James Robinson

Getty Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.

The Green Bay Packers are ditching two recently promoted skill-position players in a pair of roster moves after their Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions.

According to the team’s official transaction wire for November 28, the Packers released veteran running back James Robinson and second-year wide receiver Bo Melton from their 53-man roster on Monday. The team had signed both of them up from the practice squad to the active roster on the day before their Thanksgiving matchup with the Lions.

Robinson — a 1,000-yard rusher in 2020 — had been in and out with the Packers over the past six weeks. Green Bay initially signed him to its practice squad on October 17 to reinforce the position while Aaron Jones was injured but cut him on November 6 before getting him any snaps. Then, when Jones injured his knee in Week 11, the Packers re-signed Robinson to the practice squad and promoted him three days later.

Despite being on the active roster, though, Robinson did not play a single snap against the Lions and will now return to free agency to await his next NFL opportunity.

Meanwhile, Melton had been a developmental piece of the Packers’ receiving corps ever since last year when they stashed the 2022 seventh-round pick on their practice squad. He did not make the initial 53-man roster coming out of training camp but earned a place on their practice squad, where he remained until his November 22 promotion to the active roster. He played just one receiving snap, though, before his Monday release.

The Packers now have two open spots on their 53-man roster heading into Week 13.

Packers Have 2 Starters Eligible to Return From IR

The Packers could always add a pair of outside players or promote from their practice squad to fill the two openings on their 53-man roster, but it is more likely that they are bracing for different roster moves with players eligible for return from injured reserve.

Last week, the Packers designated starting free safety Darnell Savage Jr. to return to practice and opened his 21-day activation window from injured reserve. Savage spent the entire week as a limited participant in practice, but the Packers opted not to rush him back on a short timeline and ruled him out on the injury report against the Lions.

Fortunately, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur indicated on November 27 that the team could “potentially” have Savage back on the 53-man roster for Week 13’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The extent to which Savage practices this week could be a determining factor in their decision, but the Packers will have until Saturday, December 2, to make a decision about his playing status against the Chiefs.

The Packers could also potentially activate cornerback Eric Stokes. The 2021 first-round pick began the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list after suffering a torn meniscus and Lisfranc injury early last November. Unfortunately, he sustained a new hamstring injury after playing just four special teams snaps in his return game against the Denver Broncos on October 22 and landed on injured reserve.

On the bright side, the Packers opened his 21-day activation window to begin Week 13 and will now have the next three weeks to recall him to the 53-man roster; although, it is unclear whether he will make enough progress to play against the Chiefs on Sunday.

Packers Make More Roster Moves, Sign Rookie TE

In other Packers roster moves, Green Bay is also signing another tight end to their position group after losing second-round rookie Luke Musgrave to a significant injury.

According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC-2, the Packers are signing undrafted rookie tight end Joel Wilson to their practice squad on Tuesday, November 28, after hosting him and five others for workouts one day earlier. Wilson played limited snaps, mostly on special teams, for the Buffalo Bills during the preseason, but the 23-year-old is still looking for an opportunity to make his regular-season NFL debut.

For now, though, Wilson will have to settle for being the Packers’ new fourth-stringer.

The Packers needed additional depth in their tight end room after placing Musgrave on injured reserve on November 22. Musgrave suffered a lacerated kidney in Week 11’s matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers and wound up in the hospital after the game. While he would be eligible to return to the active roster as soon as Week 16, LaFleur made it clear there are no guarantees he will return before the end of the season.

Wilson is not nearly as prolific of a rookie as Musgrave has been, but he could get a shot at playing time depending on the health of the other tight ends on their roster. Josiah Deguara — their veteran tight end who is more of a fullback at this point — did not play in Week 12 due to a hip injury. If the injury holds him out again in Week 13, the Packers may consider elevating Wilson to play behind Tucker Kraft and Ben Sims, both rookies.

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