Packers News: Team to work out Joe McKnight All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Joe McKnight will work out for the Packers on Saturday morning.
Joe McKnight will work out for the Packers on Saturday morning.

Running back Joe McKnight, formerly of the New York Jets, announced via Twitter that he is headed to Green Bay.

(UPDATE: According to ProFootballTalk, citing multiple sources, McKnight is only in Green Bay for a tryout.)

McKnight, 25, was cut during the 75-man reduction last week, which makes the timing of the signing a little odd.  McKnight has been the backup running back and primary kick returner for the Jets since 2010 after being drafted in the 4th round by New York.  Overall, he’s returned nine punts with a 9.9 yard average (long of 25 yards) and 76 kick off returns with a 29.0 yard average (long of 107 yards).

One possible explanation for the Jets decision to cut McKnight have been a lingering concussion injury that McKnight suffered this offseason and a bizarre off-the-field incident involving twitter and the media.

As no corresponding moves or cuts have been made by the Packers as they work to get to the 53 man roster limit, it will be surprising to see how the Packers work McKnight unto their roster.  Perhaps most in danger of losing their spots are back up running backs James Starks, Alex Green and kick returner/wide receiver Jeremy Ross.

Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin might also be in danger of being cut, but that’s less likely considering his 4th-round draft status during the last draft.  Either way it’s a telling piece of information; the Packers are likely not happy with either their running back and/or their returner situation and are looking at other options.

This might be Thompson is just keeping his emergency list up to date or might be an indication that he’s not all that happy at running back and/or returner.


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


26 thoughts on “Packers News: Team to work out Joe McKnight

  1. I said this over at CHTV too – if his workout is positive and GB signs him, that allows them to cut Ross and their bottom ranked RB, because McKnight fills both those roles. Thus leading to a bit more roster flexibility to sign 7 DL or more TE’s.

    1. Exactly. No inside information, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t sign McKnight.

      That would make the decision at RB/WR a lot easier. Starks and Ross would likely get axed.

  2. If McKnight is true, it could spell the end of Starks and Ross. That would open a roster spot at WR for Johnson, who would likely be picked up by another team if they try to release him and get him on the PS. Other alternative is McKnight as KR and Ross as PR.

    Either way, if true it doesn’t look good for Starks IMO.

    1. That makes the most since. I still think once Johnson gets his legs back, learns the offense, and gets some time actually playing he’ll give the Packers a faster slightly larger version of Jordy Nelson. I still think Johnson given the time would develop into a excellent receiver and one with more speed that any on the current roster. I also just can’t see the Packers cutting Franklin as Mr. Hobbs suggested COULD happen. How can a guy many labeled the steal of the draft to being cut while running behind a bunch of UDFA for a O Line. McCarthy, if as smart as everyone says he is, and as smart as I think he is will devise ways to get the ball in Franklins hands in space. Since Harris is gone the Packers need that change of pace back more than ever. I’ve seen Franklin in action many, many, times and trust and believe he’ll be a good NFL RB.

      1. Oh, and McKnight would be a upgrade over Ross and like Stroh and Bearmeat suggested would allow the Packers mover ability to play with the roster. Like keeping Johnson, a extra D Lineman, he’ll even a decent offensive lineman off waivers. Stark has been given more than enough time. Lets give Franklin 3 years and see what he does!!

  3. TT is doing his due dilegence. He might also have a trade in the works. Will be fun to see final 53! However, I don’t think the final 53 will be final until the playoff roster freeze.

    1. After a bunch of clarification, it now looks like McKnight is just there for a tryout. My feeling at this point is that Thompson is just updating his emergency list more than anything else, especially after they called “kickalicious” for a try out as well (no way the Packers drop Crosby after the pay cut)

      1. Well at least he’s looking and bringing in other players suggesting at least he’s open to a change. I’ve always viewed Thompson as very rigid, it’s going to work over my dead body type guy. While you can’t argue with the success he’s had, I wonder what could have been if he’d be open to a FA, replacing Collins and Jenkins right away in 2011. That pass rush was no where in sight nor the pass defense once Jenkins left and Collins was hurt. I say this only because very rarely does a draft pick make a huge difference right away. With a draft and develop only, it always feels like the Packers are that one or two players away. That’s the difference from winning the division and winning a title. I’m not suggesting to try and rebuild through FA, we all know that doesn’t work (Philly). But adding a piece here and there would prove to be worthwhile, that I’m sure of. Just ask Pickett and Woodson.

        1. Remember Ron Wolf’s defense: Reggie White, Santana Dotson, Sean Jone, Eugene Robinson (Free agents) and Gilbert Brown (Waivers). Offense: Favre(Trade) Jackson, Winters, Beebe (Free Agents). I agree with you If Ron Wolf felt the team was a player or two away he did something. The Pack has also been hurt by F.A.’s but a little too rigid about free agency is accurate.

          1. It was a lot easier to do something at that time, due to the lack of salary cap. In fact its one reason Wolf retired unexpectedly. The cap made it difficult to sign FA and make trades. Can’t even compare the era prior to and after the salary cap was instituted. Most teams that try that route now end up like the Packers were under Sherman. Cap hell, an old team and no young talent in the pipeline. Its quite a bit different now than it was.

            1. The salary Cap started in 1993.

              The difference is really that successful teams have learned not to overspend on the front end. You used to have teams like the Cowboys and 49ers make spectacular FA signings — until the more expensive years of those players’ contracts forced the team to cut good players just to get under the cap. Same thing happened to the Ravens after their first Superbowl.

              Wolf and later Sherman were willing to spend on signing bonuses in year 1 of contracts that would blow up the teams cap a few years later. For Wolf’s team the rebuild came in 1999-2000 and was pretty well managed, the salary cap hell Sherman created was stopped in 2005-6 when Thompson had to dump players like Sharper and Wahle.

              Thompson’s Packers don’t overspend on the front end. Neither do the Patriots or Steelers. There is a reason those are the most consistently successful franchises in the Salary cap era.

              1. The Steelers and the Patriots at least will sign a player here or there. The Pats lose Welker and sign Amandola. Thats what im talking about and I thought I was pretty clear in stating signing a player here or there, as in one or two. For example getting a replacement for Collins or Jenkins(just examples) instead of WAITING for the next draft, WAITING for those players to develop if they even do. It’s a tool if used wisely works really well. Just FYI, the Eagles who went nuts that season with FA aren’t even in cap hell.

  4. I don’t know about anyone else, but Franklin has shown very little. How long can “he was a 4th round pick” cover for non performance?

      1. I agree with that, but why not give more of a look with the ones? Plus the blitz pickup has been horrible.

        1. You’re right about that, and it will only get tougher as defenses are rather vanilla in preseason. I think with work he’ll come around with blitz pickups. Brandon Jackson was a pretty good 3rd down back as far as picking up blitzes but it didn’t come overnight for him either. All I’m saying is Franklin will prove to be more than adequate given the time. Everybody always says it takes a few years to see what you really have. Lets give the kid a chance. I think the media with there assessments of him made him look like he’d be a overnight success, when all he’s had is OTA, mini camps and 4 preseason games. The starting O Line isn’t that great, imagine what it’s like running with the twos.

          1. Jackson came out of Neb w/ a reputation of being a very good blocker in the pass game and it still took him over a year to become really good at it. Its easily the most difficult adjustment for most college RB. Franklin will take this year at least to get really good.

            1. I agree, actually that’s what I said. Give him a little time to adjust. Franklin came into the pros with a reputation as being able to pick up the blitz also didn’t he? All I’m trying to say to those ready to kick Franklin to the curb is give him some time.

          2. Yep..I probably got caught up in the hype. I’m sure it was going to be tough to live up to, and he’s probably not as bad as I thought.

      2. Barry Sanders did all right with nobodies in front of him.

        Which is not to say that Franklin needs to look like Sanders. You’d think we’d have seen something, some flash of speed, some power visible on impact, a sudden cut. I may have missed something, but so far he’s shown nothing.

  5. Was really excited about the run game this year. Bulaga and Harris injuries are a bummer, and watching this Oline trying to run block in the preseason in also a bummer. So here’s hoping that Lacey can get some sort of running lanes to work with, on a somewhat consistent basis, (to take pressure of of Rodgers) and that the line can hold up pass blocking. These(and Arod not getting hurt) are keys to the offenses season, because this is still going to be a passing team

    1. While I agree that run blocking is a problem now, how much of that is due to the intentional absence of Aaron Rodgers? The Packer passing game doesn’t strike fear into any defense if former backup Graham Harrell, Vince Young or BJ Coleman is your QB.

      Rodger’s presence will, in part, serve to take some of the pressure off the running game. Will the running lanes open up consistently for Eddie Lacy? I hope so. Part of that will also be McCarthy’s responsibility as the play caller.

      With Rodgers as the starting QB, this running game could give us a pleasant surprise. This assumes the o-line doesn’t get AR killed in the first quarter against the 49ers.

      1. Exactly… Seattle made them look worse than they are(I hope)because they had Zero respect for Harrell. Look at it this way, the Jets signed Harrell, that tells you all you need to know about Graham Harrell.

  6. I like the sense of urgnecy the Packers are showing. They are finally doing something about a backup QB, getting options for a kicker, and I believe looking as McKnight for primarily returning but is also a runner. If Ross is not the best option for reciever bringing in a returner gives you more options. I bet you Mr. Thompson will bring in an offensive lineman to increase depth. They are doing some of the little things this year that they haven’t in the past. This is a good sign.

  7. Slim11 took the words out of my mouth. Having rodgers, cobb and nelson back will make running a little easier.

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