Packers Sign National Champion Off Waivers: Report

The Green Bay Packers continue to shake things up at the kicker position, most recently adding former Michigan Wolverines kicker James Turner to the training camp roster.

Shortly after being waived by the Detroit Lions, Turner was claimed off waivers by the Packers. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo confirmed the news via X.

The #Packers claimed K James Turner off waivers from the #Lions.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 20, 2024

The Packers released Jack Podlesny as a corresponding move for their new kicker.

The move comes after the Lions were able to sign UFL star kicker Jakes Bates. The Packers had also requested to host Bates for a visit, but were unable to land him. Instead, Green Bay will be taking Detroit’s backup option in Turner, with hopes that he can prove himself in training camp.

Who Is James Turner?

Kickers aren’t usually the stars of their teams. That’s the case for Turner, but he still had a solid end to his college career.

Turner started out with the Louisville Cardinals. He had a tough stretch in 2021, but turned it around the following year to earn third-team All-ACC honors.

That bounce-back season helped Turner carry some momentum to Ann Arbor after transferring to Michigan for the 2023 season. He set a program record with 65 extra point conversion on 66 attempts, while making 18 of his 21 field goals. Along with earning second-team All-Big Ten honors, Turner got to end his college career as a national champion.

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Despite his solid accuracy, Turner wasn’t able to show off much leg strength in college. His longest converted field goal is 50 yards, although he was able to make 3-of-4 attempts from 50-plus yards in 2023.

That wasn’t enough for Turner to get drafted, unfortunately. The good news is that it didn’t take long for him to find his first NFL opportunity. He signed an undrafted deal with the Lions almost immediately after the end of the draft.

The Lions opted for a more proven kicker for training camp, but Turner will still get his shot at making an NFL roster with the Packers in training camp.

Anders Carlson Is Firmly on the Hot Seat

The Packers drafted a kicker of their own in 2022. Unfortunately, it seems that Anders Carlson could already be on the way out with a poor training camp.

Carlson was a sixth-round pick out of Auburn in the 2022 draft. While he showed off some legitimate leg strength at times, he struggled mightily with consistency. He led the NFL with 13 missed field goals and extra points over the regular season and playoffs.

His most painful miss came in the playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers, missing an easy field goal that would have put the Packers up seven in the fourth quarter.

Now, the Packers are making sure Carlson has as much competition as possible in training camp. The Packers signed veteran Greg Joseph earlier this offseason, and he could have a legitimate chance to make the roster. He holds the NFL record with five game-winning field goals in a single season.

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A second kicker might have indicated the Packers just wanted a camp leg to keep Carlson fresh. The fact that the Packers have three on their 90-man roster suggests that the team is considering other options if Carlson can’t shake off a disappointing rookie season.

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