Bolton, Stepaniak Among Those Placed on Reserve Lists

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Along with releases of guard Cole Madison and undrafted rookie fullback Jordan Jones, the Green Bay Packers placed inside linebacker Curtis Bolton and offensive tackle Yosh Nijman on the physically unable to perform list and rookie guard Simon Stepaniak and rookie running back Patrick Taylor on the non-football injury list on Friday.

The designations aren’t necessarily bad news. Unlike reserve/PUP and reserve/NFI, all four players remain on the active roster and can take part in football activities once medically cleared. Going on active/PUP and active/NFI now means they can go on reserve/PUP and reserve/NFI during the final roster cutdown to 55 players. Going on one of those reserve lists means a player must miss at least the first six weeks of the season.

Nijman and Bolton, undrafted free agents last year, should be in the thick of roster battles this summer. Nijman, an ultra-athletic option for the No. 3 tackle job, ended his rookie season on injured reserve (elbow). Bolton appeared on his way to winning a job last summer until suffering a torn ACL.

The status of Stepaniak and Taylor are due to injuries suffered in college.

Stepaniak, the third of three sixth-round picks used on interior offensive linemen, probably would have been drafted earlier had he not suffered a torn ACL in December as Indiana prepared for the Gator Bowl. The timing of the injury could turn 2020 into a redshirt season. However, if the Packers were certain his recovery would continue into the regular season, they could have placed him on injured reserve and cleared a spot on their 90-man roster. His timeline could get him on the practice field for the start of the regular season, though he’d obviously not be ready to play immediately. The Packers will have to weigh Stepaniak’s readiness with their need for a roster spot when they consider keeping him on the roster or putting him on reserve/PUP for six weeks.

A star running back at Memphis, Taylor rushed for just short of 2,000 yards as a sophomore and junior but suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in the opening game of last season. He had surgery on Sept. 16, returned for the final six games, then had surgery again after the Scouting Combine.

Here’s an explainer for PUP and NFI.

The Packers officially have 85 players on their roster with the releases of Gerald Willis, Madison and Jones and the season opt-out by receiver Devin Funchess. The waiver-wire additions of linebacker Jamal Davis (in April) and fullback John Lovett (Thursday) are pending physicals.