The Green Bay Packers released Kurt Benkert last week. The fan-favorite backup quarterback said during a live stream that general manager Brian Gutekunst was honest: There was no space for Benkert to make the 53-man roster. The Packers decided to part ways with him now to allow Benkert to have another chance elsewhere. However, Green Bay only has three quarterbacks on the roster at the moment, and the team will probably need another camp arm to split reps and preseason snaps.
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, and Danny Etling right now. Since Matt LaFleur became the head coach in 2019, the Packers have carried four quarterbacks during training camp. They had two QBs on the 53-man roster for the regular season in 2019 and 2021 but three in 2020, when the Packers relegated Love to the third-string spot in his rookie season. Benkert’s release indicates they’ll carry only two again, Rodgers and Love, plus another on the practice squad.
That’s why it is essential to bring another player to the room. Three quarterbacks could be less than ideal for camp, considering Rodgers will go through workload management in practice and shouldn’t play preseason games. The battle between Etling and whoever the Packers sign will determine who the practice-squad quarterback will be.
There is no space for a third quarterback on the 53, so don’t expect a splash signing. The Packers won’t sign a Cam Newton-caliber quarterback to give the offense another red-zone dimension. The idea will be to get a younger guy, evaluate his talent, and try to develop him inside the system.
When looking for young and inexpensive camp quarterbacks, it’s natural to search through undrafted rookies because they might offer some upside and are the cheapest alternatives.
If that’s the route the Packers decide to take, the most likely option is Max Bortenschlager, who participated in Green Bay’s rookie minicamp in May. After beginning his collegiate career in Maryland, the former three-star recruit transferred to Florida International and started 14 games in two seasons.
Bortenschlager recently described which parts of his game he was trying to improve to make an NFL roster.
“Always working on my athleticism has been a thing for me,” Bortenschlager highlighted to SB Nation.
“I’m not a guy that’s going to go run a 4.5 or anything. But just really working on, after watching back in the season, working the pocket, keeping my eyes downfield while working the pocket, and then just being able to be an athlete within the pocket, not necessarily having to go break a 20-yard run, but getting out of the way just enough to get the pass off. And then, if I have to, being able to get out of the pocket or step up in the pocket and go get five to 10 yards. So that’s always been an emphasis for me.”
Aqeel Glass, from Alabama A&M, is also available. Glass had been viewed as a draftable prospect but ended up falling in the final part of the pre-draft process. According to Sports Illustrated, he has good arm strength, athletic ability, and a prototypical body to play in the NFL. The weaknesses include the touch pass and difficulty throwing near the sidelines. Those are all fixable flaws, and nobody should expect that an undrafted free agent with good physical characteristics would have sound technique.
Danny Etling hasn’t shown enough in the NFL so far to be given the third-string role automatically. Brian Gutekunst has an open roster spot now, and it’s the time of the year to find talent and test more players.