Packers cut Barrington, keep Callahan
GREEN BAY - Sam Barrington is out and Joe Thomas is in at inside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
Barrington was released and Thomas made the team as the Packers trimmed their roster to the 53-man limit by the NFL's 3 p.m. CST deadline.
The moves probably mean that rookie Blake Martinez and second-year man Jake Ryan will start at inside linebacker in the base defense. Thomas will be one of the backups, and the Packers also might be in the process of adding a veteran inside linebacker through trade or waivers. They also have the option of moving Clay Matthews back to the inside.
Carl Bradford, who waged a stiff fight for a roster berth inside, was cut.
Barrington, a seventh-round draft choice in 2013, played 68 snaps in the final three exhibition games after sitting out the opener. He missed the first eight practices of training camp as the team elected to bring him along slowly following major foot surgery last September.
In the games, Barrington posted just one hard tackle and didn’t make any plays in the passing game. The Packers were concerned that Barrington might have lost a step, and with just 4.76-second speed out of South Florida it could have been an ongoing problem.
Barrington began last season playing 100 percent of the downs but went down on his 16th snap in the opener at Chicago.
In 2014, Barrington played 470 snaps down the stretch and had a solid season.
Thomas added about 10 pounds in the off-season and, partly as a result, played with more striking power this summer. He served as the dime linebacker in 16 of 18 games last season.
While many of the Packers' undrafted players were turning in their playbooks Saturday, rookie quarterback Joe Callahan was among those receiving the good news that they'd made the 53-man roster.
Cornerbacks Josh Hawkins and Makinton Dorleant and safeties Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans also were informed that they survived the final cuts and made the team.
The most impressive addition was Callahan, who wedged his way into the discussion in a season when the Packers probably allotted just two spots to quarterbacks. A former Division III star at Wesley College, Callahan made tangible improvements from week to week during the exhibition season. He relied heavily on his scrambling ability and bootleg action to find success but must improve his accuracy and decision-making.
Entering Saturday, there were two scenarios in which Callahan would make the 53-man roster. One centered on the health of backup quarterback Brett Hundley, whose ankle injury has lingered for the majority of camp. If the Packers do not believe Hundley will be ready behind Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, keeping Callahan was a logical decision.
And there's also the possibility that the Packers were intrigued by Callahan's growth from May through August. He showed enough positive traits on film to raise the question of whether another team would claim him on waivers if the Packers chose to cut him. The only way to avoid that scenario was to keep him on the roster.
LIVE BLOG: Packers roster cuts
The severity of rookie receiver Trevor Davis’ shoulder injury is unknown, but it wasn’t bad enough to persuade the Packers from leaving the fifth-round pick off their 53-man roster. He injured his shoulder after falling awkwardly during the Packers preseason exhibition Thursday night in Kansas City.
The Packers kept seven receivers on their final roster. Jared Abbrederis won a roster spot but undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison was released Saturday despite a strong camp.
The Packers would like to keep Allison on their practice squad, according to the source. First, they have to hope he clears waivers. Allison had six catches for 119 yards in the preseason, including a 51-yard grab at the San Francisco 49ers last week. Davis had four catches for 45 yards.
General manager Ted Thompson awoke early Saturday to continue pruning his roster. Defensive lineman Brian Price, an undrafted free agent from Texas-San Antonio, was released at approximately 6:25 a.m. CDT, according to a league source. Price received a call from the Packers asking him to turn in his playbook. The Packers hope to sign Price to the practice squad should he clear waivers.
The Packers released Robertson Daniel, who was competing for their fifth cornerback spot but lost that battle to Hawkins. Daniel has good length at 6-foot-1, but Hawkins has the faster 40-yard dash and finished preseason with two interceptions. Daniel remains a solid candidate for the Packers' practice squad, where he spent last year.
Outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert also was released and figures to be a practice squad candidate. Gilbert, at 6-3 and 261 pounds, showed good pass-rush potential off the edge with 1 1/2 sacks and six tackles in the preseason.
The Packers released tight end Casey Pierce, fullback Alstevis Squirewell, guard Lucas Patrick, wide receiver Herb Waters and running back Brandon Ross. They also placed offensive lineman Kyle Steuck on injured reserve.
The Price move could be considered a minor surprise given the Packers’ lack of depth along the defensive line. Aside from Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion, the two elder statesmen of the group, coach Mike McCarthy will be relying on a youth movement in the early weeks of the season. Two players who will need to make major contributions — Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry — are rookies.
Price was raw given his small-school football background. At 6-2 1/2 and 325 pounds, Price played nose tackle for defensive line coach Mike Trgovac. What he lacked in technique was offset by obvious effort and tenacity.
He finished the exhibition season with two tackles and one forced fumble.
A first-year player, Pierce originally signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent from Kent State in 2015. He spent the entire regular season on the Lions' practice squad before getting released.
Pierce signed with the Packers in May and competed for reps with reserve tight ends Justin Perillo, Mitchell Henry and Kennard Backman. All three players trailed Richard Rodgers and Jared Cook on the depth chart.
Pierce finished the exhibition season with two catches for 28 yards.
Squirewell, a stout 6-foot, 265 pounds from Newberry (S.C.) College, served as the Packers' second fullback this offseason, behind Aaron Ripkowski. He had two carries for 10 yards in preseason games.
A late-comer to Green Bay, Patrick was signed June 1. He played with a club on his left hand throughout camp.
Ross, another undrafted free agent, signed with the Packers after a three-week stint with the Minnesota Vikings in early May. He enjoyed a successful college career at Maryland in which he rushed for 2,543 yards (fourth in school history) and led the Big Ten in yards per carry (6.4) as a senior.
But Ross was stuck in the fifth position on the Packers' depth chart, stuck behind Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Crockett and Brandon Burks. He received limited reps in games and didn't do enough to catch the eyes of the coaching staff.
He finished the exhibition season with 25 carries for 36 yards.
Steuck, the Green Bay native, suffered a season-ending leg injury in the exhibition finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. He joined the Packers just three weeks ago, on Aug. 14, after injuries sidelined centers Corey Linsley and JC Tretter for parts of camp.
Steuck played tackle at Northern Michigan and had been helping coach the West De Pere High School football team when the Packers gave him a call.
Brice, an ultra-athletic UDFA from Louisiana Tech, wowed coaches and scouts alike with his explosiveness, speed and fearless demeanor. His acceptance along with Evans onto the 53-man roster means the Packers are carrying six safeties: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Chris Banjo, Brice and Evans.
Here is a list of final-cuts roster moves:
OG Josh Sitton (cut)
WR Geronimo Allison (cut)
LB Sam Barrington (cut)
LB Beniquez Brown (cut)
LS Rick Lovato (cut)
DT Tyler Kuder (IR)
CB Robertson Daniel (cut)
OLB Reggie Gilbert (cut)
LB Carl Bradford (cut)
OL Kyle Steuck (IR)
WR Herb Waters (cut)
RB Brandon Ross (cut)
FB Alstevis Squirewell (cut)
OG Lucas Patrick (cut)
TE Casey Pierce (cut)
DT Brian Price (cut)
S Jermaine Whitehead (cut)
CB Warren Gatewood (cut)
QB Marquise Williams (cut)
C Corey Linsley (PUP list)
WR – Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Trevor Davis, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis.
TE – Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo.
T – David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy.
G – T.J. Lang, Lane Taylor.
C – JC Tretter, Don Barclay.
QB – Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Joe Callahan.
FB – Aaron Ripkowski.
RB – Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Brandon Burks.
DE – Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, Christian Ringo.
NT – Letroy Guion, Kenny Clark.
ILB – Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas.
OLB – Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, Jayrone Elliott, Kyler Fackrell.
CB – Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins, Makinton Dorleant.
S – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Chris Banjo, Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans.
K – Mason Crosby.
P – Jacob Schum.
LS – None.
RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (1)
C Corey Linsley.
TE Kennard Backman, C Jacob Flores, C-G Kyle Steuck, RB John Crockett, NT Tyler Kuder.
DE-NT Mike Pennel, CB Demetri Goodson.