The Green Bay Packers have released quarterback Nick Hill and tight end Cameron Ford and signed former Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling, according to the Packers official website.
The Packers have signed former Miami DE Phillip Merling and released TE Cameron Ford & QB Nick Hill: pckrs.com/336y
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 23, 2012
CheeseheadTV reported earlier Wednesday that Hill had been released. The Packers signed the former Arena League Football standout on Jan. 20, but he was likely to get pushed out of the quarterback competition behind Aaron Rodgers by Graham Harrell and 2012 seventh-rounder B.J. Coleman.
Ford, an undrafted free agent tight end out of Wake Forest, signed with the team on May 3.
A second round pick in 2008, Merling (6-5, 315 lbs.) spent each of the last four seasons with the Dolphins. He appeared in 47 games (five starts) and recorded 66 tackles, 3.5 sacks, eight passes defensed and one interception (TD).
Merling suffered an Achilles injury in 2010, however, and his production hasn't been the same since. He only appeared in 16 games over the last two seasons, with one start. In those games, Merling made just seven tackles and recorded no sacks. The Dolphins released Merling in April after signing him to a one-year deal in March.
In late 2010, Merling was arrested for hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the face. Those charges were later dropped and Merling faced no further punishment from the NFL.
The Packers likely see him as another body along a defensive line that needs to play significantly better in 2012.
With a complete lack of production from the defensive end position last season, and the Packers facing suspensions for both Mike Neal and Tony Hargrove to start the 2012 season, GM Ted Thompson could afford to take a chance on the 27-year-old Merling. He'll wear No. 69.