GREEN BAY – Name tags may be necessary when the Green Bay Packers' full running back group meets for the first time this spring.
The number of new faces grew to four Tuesday when the Packers signed undrafted free agent Kalif Phillips of UNC-Charlotte.
Phillips joins fourth-round pick Jamaal Williams of BYU, fifth-round pick Aaron Jones of UTEP and seventh-round pick Devante Mays of Utah State as new members of the Packers' backfield.
On Monday, the Packers cut running backs Don Jackson and Christine Michael, leaving only starter Ty Montgomery and fullbacks Aaron Ripkowski and Joe Kerridge from last year’s running back group. The competition for what could be five spots begins when the rookies report for orientation at the end of this week.
Phillips holds just about every rushing record for the fledgling 49ers program, which was revived after a 65-year hiatus. As part of the first recruiting class, the 5-9 ½, 218-pound Phillips led the team in rushing his freshman season with 716 yards and 12 touchdowns on 129 carries despite not starting a game.
By the time his four seasons were up, Phillips had rushed for 4,020 yards and 41 touchdowns and caught 46 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns.
The 49ers were an FCS independent for two years before joining Conference USA in 2015. In his two seasons playing FBS football, Phillips gained 1,868 yards on 379 carries for nine touchdowns and caught 29 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown.
He was an honorable mention all-conference selection his senior year.
At his pro day, Phillips ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, had a vertical leap of 30 inches, benched 225 pounds 17 times and posted a broad jump of 9-foot-1-inch. Phillips is the only undrafted running back the Packers have on the roster.
The one-year deal free-agent guard Jahri Evans signed with the Packers is worth $2.25 million.
The Packers paid Evans only $200,000 in guaranteed money – all in a signing bonus – so they won’t lose a lot if the 33-year-old guard doesn’t make the 53-man roster.
According to a source with access to NFL player salaries, Evans is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.15 million, a per-game roster bonus that maxes out at $800,000 ($15,000 per game) and a $100,000 workout bonus.
The contract also calls for $250,000 in likely-to-be-earned incentives.