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Packers release former first-round pick Johnathan Abram after 20 days in Green Bay

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The Green Bay Packers have released former Las Vegas Raiders first-round pick Johnathan Abram just 20 days after claiming the safety off of waivers, the team announced.

The 27th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft played just one snap on defense and 28 special teams snaps during his first two games with Green Bay against the Dallas Cowboys and the Tennessee Titans in Weeks 10 and 11. He was inactive for Sunday night’s Packers-Eagles game in Week 12. He made a couple of tackles playing for Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who was his former interim head coach with the Raiders.

“Obviously, that was a little bit of surprise, first of all, that he got cut and that he ends up here with us in Green Bay,” Bisaccia said when Abram joined the team, via Sports Illustrated. “He’ll be a diligent learner. He can run. He’s a physical player and I think he’ll have to catch up a little bit to figure out what we’re trying to do here defensively. But he knows a little bit about our system and the kicking game. He played in a couple phases, so we’ll see how it goes here in the next few days.”

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The move to release Abram came despite the Packers having safety injury issues on Sunday. Darnell Savage, the team’s longtime starter, suffered a foot injury on his first defensive play. Abram was unable to climb past Rudy Ford, a player Green Bay signed off the Jaguars practice squad who had two interceptions off Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in Week 10. Per Pelissero, the Packers are looking to evaluate their own young guys. With Abram inactive Sunday night, the Packers elevated Innis Gaines, an undrafted player from TCU, from their practice squad. He played 18 snaps on special teams.


Abram missed the final 15 games of his rookie season due to a torn rotator cuff and labrum, but he started all 13 in 2020, all 14 of his games in 2021 and the first six games in 2022 with the Raiders before being benched and let go. He would have been an unrestricted free agent with the conclusion of his rookie deal coming this upcoming offseason. 

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