The Green Bay Packers were running out of roster space for defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, but instead of an outright release, they were able to ship him to the New England Patriots in exchange for a potential late-round pick.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported the news Tuesday:
ESPN's Rob Demovsky added an important detail of the deal, noting that the draft pick is a conditional one:
#Packers will receive a future pick from the Patriots, but only if Worthy makes the team, according to an NFL source.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 12, 2014
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette adds the round the pick comes from:
Source familiar with Worthy deal said conditional pick Packers get from Patriots is a 7. He has to make final 53 for Packers to get it.— Pete Dougherty (@PeteDougherty) August 13, 2014
Worthy's agent confirmed the report via Twitter:
Of course, as Demovsky pointed out, the former portion of that tweet is worth paying attention to, considering the 24-year-old's battle to stay healthy:
The "pending physical" part is key. Worthy hasn't practiced yet because of a back injury.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 12, 2014
The 51st overall pick in 2012, Worthy struggled to adjust to Dom Capers' defense as a rookie, recording 2.5 sacks in 14 games (four starts). When he was starting to look a bit more comfortable, he blew out his knee in the regular-season finale.
Reconstructive surgery kept him on the physically unable to perform list until Nov. 23 of last season, and he ended up playing just two games and a small handful of snaps. He has yet to practice this summer due to a back injury.
As the Michigan State product told the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Wes Hodkiewicz, he has been itching to return to the gridiron this offseason:
Jerel Worthy this afternoon: "I’m getting anxious. I’m inching. I just want to get back out there. I’m just trying to stick with the plan"— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) August 12, 2014
It's an interesting flier for the Pats. If Worthy can get healthy, assimilate to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense and live up to his potential, he'll add even more depth to an interior that already includes Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork, Sealver Siliga and tantalizing rookie Dominique Easley.
Ben Volin of The Boston Globe wondered what this addition (and the acquisition of Ben Bass earlier in the day, as reported by Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com) means for Siliga and Chris Jones:
Can't be a good sign for Sealver Siliga and maybe Chris Jones that #Patriots are adding multiple defensive linement today— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 12, 2014
Really, though, it's just another calculated roll of the dice by Belichick and his staff, who enjoy stockpiling bodies on the defensive line. If Worthy doesn't pan out, it won't cost them anything.
Who wins this trade?
As for Green Bay, it makes similar sense. Worthy was quickly slipping on the depth chart behind Mike Daniels, B.J. Raji, Datone Jones, Josh Boyd, Khyri Thornton and Mike Pennel. This is a chance to potentially get something in return.
Should Worthy latch on with the Pats, it could be a win-win for both sides. Like most August trades in the NFL, though, just don't expect it to have a major impact on the landscape of the league.