Expect the unexpected this week. The Green Bay Packers must trim their roster to 53 players before Tuesday's deadline.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has a lot to consider. Not only which players make up the best 53, but also who they want to bring back to the practice squad. Then, there is the salary cap and how each move impacts the team financially.
It can lead to surprise decisions. Nobody expected the Packers to release Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton just days before the regular season. The same was true when they waived Pro Bowl defensive lineman Mike Daniels in Matt LaFleur's first year as head coach.
Gutekunst has made several trades this time of year, making deals for players on the roster bubble, like Brett Hundley, Reggie Gilbert, and Cole Van Lanen.
Which surprise cuts or trades could the Packers make in the coming days?
3. Packers could surprisingly cut punter Pat O'Donnell
Pat O'Donnell is the safer option at punter. He has the experience, not just kicking in cold conditions but also holding on field goals. However, we can't ignore Daniel Whelan, who punted well all summer.
Whelen played well in the preseason. Across the three games, he punted six times for 274 yards, averaging 45.7 yards per punt. He hit a long of 67 yards and pinned opponents within the 20-yard line on three of his punts. Solid numbers.
There's a financial incentive for the Packers to turn to Whelan. If they believe he can do as good a job as O'Donnell, they should go with Whelan.
Releasing O'Donnell would create $1.25 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, saving more than half of his current cap number.
O'Donnell is a solid punter and offers more experience. However, the Packers could go with the younger Whelen and create cap space.