Packers take a pass on deadline deals, shuffle kick-return lineup
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers made multiple transactions at Tuesday’s trade deadline, but none were the big-name receiver or tight end some fans anticipated.
General manager Brian Gutekunst promoted cornerback Tremon Smith from the practice squad to the active roster. Smith, the team’s kickoff returner earlier this season, was released before the Packers' game against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 14 so the team could bulk up at an undermanned tight end position. The Packers had Chandon Sullivan return kicks last week in Kansas City, but Smith could take over those duties Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers.
To make room on the 53-man roster, the Packers released receiver Darrius Shepherd and tight end Evan Baylis. Both are potential candidates to be placed on the practice squad, if they clear waivers.
For Baylis, it’s a bit of a revolving door. He was the tight end elevated to the active roster when Smith was released. Baylis’ release might signal tight end Robert Tonyan is ready to return to the game-day 46-man roster after missing the past three games with a hip injury.
Shepherd made the Packers’ 53-man roster out of training camp, but he has struggled this season. Most glaringly, he caused an interception for quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he slipped and had a pass deflect off his facemask against the Lions. But Shepherd made the team for his potential as a punt return specialist, and has actually lost 9 yards on his two returns this season. He also lost a muffed punt against the Lions.
As for big-name receivers, the Packers might get an addition this week. After missing four games with a turf toe injury, top receiver Davante Adams might be able to return against the Chargers. Still, as the trade deadline passed, it’s clear the Packers are relying on internal development more than external help.