GREEN BAY - An hour after describing himself as passive on the NFL’s trade market, and foreshadowing that his track record could change, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson struck his first training-camp deal in seven years Tuesday.
The Packers traded outside linebacker Lerentee McCray to the Buffalo Bills for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2018.
McCray was one of two “street” free agents the Packers signed this offseason, along with tight end Jared Cook. McCray spent the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos, where he was part of the Super Bowl 50 championship team.
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It is Thompson’s first trade in the final preseason week since he traded a backup offensive lineman for a backup safety (Tony Moll for Derrick Martin) in 2009. Speaking with the media Tuesday morning, Thompson acknowledged he hasn’t been aggressive on the trade market compared to competitors across the league.
“There are teams that are a little more aggressive trading than other teams,” Thompson said. “I would classify us as not very aggressive, and it’s probably my fault because I’m a builder. I like to gather the chicks all into the barn and keep them all to myself. I’d rather work with the guys that we have and try to make them better, than trading one of them to some other team to get somebody else’s guy, if you know what I mean.
“We have made trades, and we certainly have conversations about making grades. It’s possible we could make one in the next couple days.”
The trade bodes well for third-year outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott’s chances to make the roster. Though he has had a poor camp as a pass rusher, Elliott remains one of the Packers' most valuable special teams players.
McCray was thought to be in direct competition with Elliott for one of the final outside linebacker jobs. Now, Elliott is a good bet to make the Packers' roster.
Outside linebackers coach Winston Moss said Monday he remains confident in Elliott.
“I thought Jayrone really got off to a great start,” Moss said, “and just because maybe his stats and tweaking his hamstring in the last game might say something else, I feel confident about what Jayrone is as a person and as a player. Every single year, he’s grown. Even though it might not show itself now, I believe in him and what he can do and what he can become.
“I’m not disappointed, but I am patient that given enough opportunities, Jayrone will come through for us.”