GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers will start the 2021 season with a new punter after acquiring Corey Bojorquez from the Los Angeles Rams during the final roster reduction of training camp on Tuesday.
While the Packers released 26 players to get under the league-mandated 53-player limit — and also placed All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari on the in-season physically unable to perform list, meaning he’ll miss at least the first six games while coming back from the torn ACL he suffered in his left knee Dec. 31 — general manager Brian Gutekunst’s biggest move was acquiring Bojorquez and moving on from incumbent punter JK Scott, who was released.
The Packers’ initial roster stands at 52 players as the Bojorquez trade was not on the NFL’s official transaction wire Tuesday evening. While the Packers didn’t announce the deal, a league source did confirm the trade.
In addition to placing Bakhtiari on the PUP list, tight end Jace Sternberger is set to serve a two-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and is on the reserve/suspended list.
Scott, a 2018 fifth-round pick from Alabama, had been the Packers’ punter the past three seasons and beat out in-camp competition from Ryan Winslow, who was released on Aug. 16. But after Scott’s up-and-down showing in preseason play, Gutekunst traded for Bojorquez, who had a strong summer but was not going to usurp four-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler Johnny Hekker after Hekker agreed to rework his contract on Tuesday.
According to The Athletic, the Packers are sending a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Rams in exchange for Bojorquez and a 2023 seventh-round pick.
The left-footed Bojorquez entered the league as an undrafted free agent from New Mexico in 2018 with the New England Patriots. Waived at the end of camp that year and claimed by the Buffalo Bills, he handled the Bills’ punting duties for most of the past three seasons, punting 165 times and averaging 45.0 gross yards and 41.8 net yards per punt.
Last season in Buffalo, Bojorquez averaged 50.8 gross yards and 44.0 net yards on 41 punts. During the preseason this summer, he led the NFL with a 51.9-yard gross and net average on seven punts, as only one of his punts was returned — for zero yards.
Scott, meanwhile, averaged 45.1 gross yards and 41.0 net yards on eight punts in preseason. In three years in Green Bay, during which he also served as kicker Mason Crosby’s holder on field goals and extra points, Scott punted 194 times in regular-season play and averaged 44.6 gross yards and 40.3 net yards per punt.
Gutekunst had been slated to meet with reporters Tuesday afternoon, but that news conference was pushed back to Wednesday by the team.
Meanwhile, in addition to Scott, the Packers released 25 players, many of whom are likely to return on the expanded 16-player practice squad if they clear waivers: No. 3 quarterback Kurt Benkert; running backs Dexter Williams and Patrick Taylor; offensive linemen Ben Braden, Coy Cronk, Jacob Capra and Cole Van Lanen, a Green Bay-area native and former University of Wisconsin lineman who was a sixth-round pick in May and is the only draft pick not to make the initial roster; wide receivers Equanimeous St. Brown, Reggie Begelton, Damon Hazelton and Juwann Winfree; tight end Bronson Kaufusi; defensive linemen Willington Previlon, Carlo Kemp and Abdullah Anderson; inside linebackers De’Jon Harris and Ray Wilborn; outside linebackers Delontae Scott and Tipa Galeai; cornerbacks Kabion Ento, Stephen Denmark and Rojesterman Farris; safeties Christian Uphoff and Innis Gaines; and kicker JJ Molson.
The moves meant on offense the Packers kept only Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love at quarterback; rookie seventh-round pick Kylin Hill won the No. 3 running back job behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, as expected; Malik Taylor earned the No. 6 wide receiver job — a spot coach Matt LaFleur was unsure the team would even have room for; and center Jake Hanson will be the ninth offensive lineman after not making the team a year ago as a rookie sixth-rounder.
On defense, the Packers kept cornerback Isaac Yiadom, whom they acquired from the New York Giants in a change-of-scenery deal for cornerback Josh Jackson, who made the Giants’ initial roster; undrafted rookie free agent Jack Heflin, who played at Northern Illinois and Iowa; and outside linebacker Chauncey Rivers, added off waivers from Baltimore just 25 days earlier.
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