Packers Predicted to Cut $4.3 Million Starter After Demotion

Yosh Nijman Cut Packers Prediction

Getty Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, left, could move on from one of his 2022 starters during roster cuts.

The Green Bay Packers have until August 29 to figure out which players are going to make their 53-man roster after they wrapped up the 2023 preseason. Could offensive tackle Yosh Nijman be in danger of losing his roster spot?

One of the most trusted Packers insiders believes that could be a possibility.

In his final 53-man roster projection, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky listed Nijman as one of nine offensive linemen making the initial 2023 roster but suggested that he “could be out” after 2022 seventh-rounder Rasheed Walker passed him up on the depth chart as the No. 3 offensive tackle behind projected starters David Bakhtiari and Zach Tom.

“They could go with 10 here by keeping Royce Newman,” Demovsky wrote August 26 after the preseason finale. “Also, worth considering, Nijman could be out. Yes, the same Nijman who started 21 games over the last two seasons. Walker surpassed him as the No. 3 tackle, and Nijman is due to make $4.304 million. None of that is guaranteed, so if the Packers release him or trade him, that’s all wiped off their books and salary cap.”

Rasheed Walker Has Been Preseason Star for Packers

The Packers currently have Nijman listed as the backup left tackle on their unofficial depth chart behind Bakhtiari and Tom — a 2022 fouth-rounder — listed as their top right tackle with Walker in place as his backup at the position. Walker, however, was one of the brightest performers of their three-game preseason stretch.

After playing just four special teams snaps in 2022, Walker seamlessly stepped into the important role of covering quarterback Jordan Love’s blind side during the preseason, starting the final two games at left tackle and handling his responsibilities with grace.

According to Pro Football Focus, Walker allowed just one quarterback hit and one pressure over 52 pass-blocking snaps over the first two preseason games and held up nicely once again in the preseason finale against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.

That’s not to say that Nijman has looked bad on any of his preseason opportunities; quite the opposite, actually. The fourth-year Nijman has played fewer pass-blocking snaps than Walker over the past month, but he has done so without allowing a single pressure on his quarterbacks. He has also seen action at both left and tackle tackle.

If the Packers hold Walker in higher regard as their swing tackle, though, it could be difficult for them to justify paying Nijman the full price of his second-round restricted free agent tender ($4.304 million, per Over the Cap). There is always a case for him to make it on the virtue of prioritizing Love’s protection in his first season as the starter, but the Packers may prefer to let their younger homegrown talent have their chances.

Could Packers Find a Trade Partner for Yosh Nijman?

Yosh Nijman Packers Cut Prediction1

GettyPackers offensive tackle Yosh Nijman could make sense as a trade chip.

The Packers may have a difficult decision to make regarding their offensive tackle room, but being logjammed at the position with quality talent is hardly a bad thing for them. In fact, there is a strong case to be made that Nijman — if they are leaning toward moving on from him at the cut deadline — could make an excellent trade chip.

Nijman has started 21 games over the past two seasons for the Packers, getting experience on both sides of the line — 803 snaps on the left and 555 on the right. During that time, the 27-year-old has been an above-average pass blocker and shown he can be trusted to step into the starting lineup on short notice without letting the quality of play drop off significantly (a major asset when blocking for a four-time MVP, Aaron Rodgers).

If the Packers cut Nijman, they run the risk of letting their rival Chicago Bears — who hold the highest waiver-wire priority — scoop him up for their youth-filled tackle room, all while only freeing up a little bit of cap space for themselves. With a trade, though, the Packers could find a fit that works for both Nijman and the team while also getting a little something extra in return in the form of trade compensation, likely a Day 3 pick.

The New York Jets could make sense as a trade partner given Nijman’s familiarity blocking for Rodgers and the team’s current lack of tackle security. The Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers could also have reason to target Nijman; although, the Packers may not be interested in helping another NFC team get better.

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