Green Bay Packers roster reactions: Sitton, Callahan top the list


Josh Sitton’s release was the focal point of a surprising 53-man Packers roster that Ted Thompson whittled down to on Sunday.

After taking a couple days to reflect, I still can’t think of any solid reason for the timing of this move.

One would hope that either Thompson or Sitton would eventually shed light on the matter, but that might not happen anytime soon, either.

Earlier this year, I wrote that Sitton was one of the five best players on the Packers. Even if his play has slipped, he remains a top pass-blocking guard and an integral part of the starting five.

The timing makes it seem that this was probably not a premeditated decision. If Thompson knew that he might not be able to keep his All-Pro guard this season, then why wasn’t he actively shopping trade offers all offseason?

Why wasn’t Mike McCarthy working in several different options as prospective replacements at left guard on the starting line?

The best guess is that there was probably an irreconcilable contract dispute. Sitton may have been seeking a contract extension this season before he hit the open market, and Thompson might have made it clear that the team had higher priorities (including, probably, David Bakhtiari and T.J. Lang).

That’s all just a semi-educated guess. The hope is that things did not get at any point nasty between the two sides.

We don’t know everything about the situation, including the long-term health prospects of Sitton’s back. But to receive NO compensation for him, not even a compensatory draft pick, is an undeniable blunder (The Packers could get a draft pick for Lerentee McCray, but not Sitton?).

Pete Dougherty put a positive spin on the move this morning, and his analysis is worth your time. I wrote earlier this year that I didn’t believe Sitton would be re-signed after the season. So perhaps Thompson thought there would be a benefit to sending a message to every player on his team that nobody not wearing #12 is completely safe, as well as beginning the replacement process a year early.

The Packers offense will be impacted by this, but not crippled.

For as good as Sitton is, he still plays left guard. Remember, the Packers went 15-1 starting Marshall Newhouse at left tackle.

Green Bay Packers guard Lane Taylor. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers guard Lane Taylor. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

Lane Taylor will step in, and he’s a capable run blocker, though not sharp in pass protection. One interesting ramification is that the right side of the offensive line is now undoubtedly superior to the left. We’ll find out how that impacts the offense soon enough.

Here’s my other observations from the hectic day:

I’m shocked that they kept Joe Callahan. I didn’t think he showed enough that he’ll ever be more than a #3 QB on this team.

  • This probably reflects more on McCarthy’s belief that Callahan is a developable talent than it does on the prospective health of Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley. Still, it’s a roster spot used on an undrafted young man who more likely than not will never see the field during regular season play for the Packers.
  • Seven receivers was also surprising, especially given Mike McCarthy’s comments earlier this offseason. But ultimately, I’m not as upset about that as I am about Callahan. All seven have some value on the team. I probably would have cut Davis, but he flashed a few times and we all know how Ted Thompson feels about drat picks. Hopefully he’ll be more than David Clowney 2.0.
  • Former Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Sam Barrington. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
    Former Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Sam Barrington. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

    I thought that Sam Barrington’s return would be a big boost to the Packers run defense, but it was not to be. The already slowish linebacker appeared to have lost a step this preseason. Blake Martinez has been excellent this preseason though, so hopefully he’ll be able to step into Barrington’s shoes and the run defense won’t suffer too much.

  • Some funky numbers on defense with 5/6 safeties (depending on how you classify Micah Hyde), 5 true defensive linemen, and only 3 inside linebackers. Morgan Burnett and Clay Matthews could see some time at linebacker to provide additional depth there. But I’m worried about the defensive line for the first four games of the season. Trading Sitton for an established veteran defensive tackle would have been a logical move.
  • Next: Jhurell Pressley Brings It

    • Josh Hawkins absolutely played his way onto this team. Same goes for Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans. I was less sure on Makinton Dorleant and Brandon Burks, and following the signings of Brett Goode and Jhurell Presley, they’re out the door.
    • By my count, there’s 15 players on this roster who were undrafted out of college. Credit the scouts for doing such a good job identifying undrafted talent, and McCarthy for giving every player real opportunities to contribute on the team.