Al Harris, Atari Bigby, James Starks To PUP, Quinn Porter To IR
The Green Bay Packers made their required roster moves today without cutting a single player. Instead, the team trimmed its roster to 75 players by moving 3 players to the reserve physically unable to perform (PUP) list and 1 to season-ending injured-reserve.
The Packers placed cornerback Al Harris (knee), safety Atari Bigby (ankle), and running back James Starks (hamstring) on the reserve PUP list. The designation of “reserve PUP” means the players are not eligible to play or practice with the team until after the first 6 weeks of the season. They can rehabilitate with the team and attend meetings, however. After week 6, the team has 3 weeks to decide whether or not they will activate the player or end his season by placing him on injured reserve. If the team chooses to activate the player, they must release a different player. Today’s moves essentially means the Packers are putting off the decision on three roster moves until after week 6.
Quinn Porter’s knee injury was significant enough for the Packers to shut him down for the rest of the year. Porter was initially scheduled to make $320,000 this season, but Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that “a split salary clause” in Porter’s contract will allow him to make $225,000 this season.
By not cutting any players, the Packers allowed themselves a few more days to judge the talent on their roster. The Packers coaching staff will take an extended look at many players on the bubble of being released when they close their exhibition season on Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
While it provides the coaching staff more time to evaluate, it also puts the pass defense in a tough position. By placing Harris and Bigby on the PUP list, the Packers now find themselves thin at defensive back for at least the first 6-weeks of the season. There is a possibility that both players could have returned earlier, but today’s move ensures the Packers will be without two of last season’s starters until at least week 7 when the Minnesota Vikings travel to Lambeau Field.
The Packers are taking a risk by keeping Harris and Bigby off the practice field for the first 6 weeks. Harris hasn’t played a down since a devastating knee injury last November, and it will be difficult for him or Atari Bigby to jump in and make an immediate impact. Whether or not that risk pays off for Ted Thompson and the Packers remains to be seen.