GREEN BAY, Wis. – While veterans will report to Green Bay Packers training camp on Tuesday, rookies and other young players are arriving for physicals.
On Friday, the team placed second-year tight end Josiah Deguara on the physically unable to perform list and rookie linebacker Isaiah McDuffie on the non-football injury list. The team also announced the signing of third-round draft pick Amari Rodgers. Rodgers was the last of the team’s rookies to sign.
Deguara suffered a torn ACL against Atlanta on Oct. 5. That was about nine-and-a-half months ago. Once he’s cleared, Deguara can begin practicing. Putting him on active PUP now means he can go on reserve PUP at the start of the season, so long as he doesn’t practice during training camp. Reserve PUP puts a player on the sideline for the first six weeks of the regular season.
Expected to be a key player because of his versatility, the Packers presumably will be in no rush to get last year’s third-round pick on the field. He spent most of the offseason practices going through rehab workouts with All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.
McDuffie, a sixth-round pick, suffered what a source called a “minor hamstring strain” during his pre-camp training.
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Meanwhile, the Packers signed Rodgers to get their nine-man draft class wrapped up in plenty of time before Wednesday’s first practice. Rodgers was due to get a four-year contract worth almost $4.9 million with a signing bonus of about $924,000.
What was the holdup? Third-round picks usually are among the last to sign. One contract, in particular, made negotiations tricky around the league.
“The third round has always been a unique round. What we negotiate is what we call ‘additional compensation,’” an agent representing a couple of third-rounders said.
As of a month ago, there were nine unsigned picks in the first round, eight in the second round, one in the fourth round and zero in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. That’s 18 rookies without a contract in those six rounds. Of the 41 players selected in this year’s third round, 27 were unsigned.
“I think without a doubt he’s going to do some cool things for us this upcoming year,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “I think any time you have a young player, there’s always this kind of process of them trying to learn this new system and there’s ups and downs with it. I think Amari’s doing a very good job. He’s not intimidated by what we’re handing to him. He’s a student of the game, and you can see that. He’s got a natural feel to the game in these limited reps.”