The NFL offseason is roughly half over with free agency behind us and the NFL Draft coming up later this month. But how has the offseason gone for the Green Bay Packers so far?
We take an in-depth look at the Packers 2022 offseason. The grade is based on which players the Packers were able to keep, who they lost and how the team is relative to the 2021 roster.
The biggest event of the offseason was that the Packers were able to sign quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a contract extension. That keeps the two-time reigning MVP in Green and Gold for 2022 and likely beyond. It is now probable Rodgers finishes his career as a Packer although he could retire after this or any upcoming season.
At 38, Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game and his presence makes the Packers a playoff team and a likely Super Bowl contender again this season.
The Packers were also able to re-sign edge rusher Preston Smith to a new contract. Preston had nine sacks which was second on the team last season and he provided the team with consistent pressure off the edge. His return gives the Pack a solid pair of starters on the edge with Rashan Gary starting on the other side of the field.
The Packers were also able to keep All Pro inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. GM Brian Gutekunst signed Campbell as a free agent to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Campbell was a perfect fit in Joe Barry’s defense and he led the team in tackles by a wide margin.
Campbell’s return gives Green Bay a strong presence in the middle of their defense and their first difference maker at inside linebacker in a long time. The last Packers inside/middle linebacker to be named All Pro was Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke in 1966.
The Packers also re-signed cornerback Rasul Douglas who the Packers added in October after Jaire Alexander was injured. Douglas led the Packers with five interceptions, provided consistent coverage in the secondary and returned two of his interceptions for touchdowns.
Green Bay also retained tight end Robert Tonyan who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The former Indiana State star missed the second half of the 2021 campaign with a knee injury and that helped the team’s ability to bring him back. Tonyan signed a one-year deal and is essentially betting on himself with the chance to reach free agency again next offseason.
The Packers did have significant losses during the offseason. The biggest was All Pro wide receiver Davante Adams who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders for first and second round picks in this year’s draft.
Gutekunst placed the franchise tag on Adams but the wide receiver made it clear he wouldn’t return to the Packers and only wanted to play for the Raiders with his college quarterback, Derek Carr. The loss of Adams leaves the Packers without a number one-caliber receiver on their roster. Gute did well to get a first and second round pick for a player who wasn’t going to play for the Pack in 2022 and only wanted to play for one other NFL team but now the important task is finding an adequate replacement for Tae.
The Packers also lost free agent speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling who signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers now need to find a new receiver who can stretch a defense. Head coach Matt LaFleur has been clear that the team needs a fast wideout to replace MVS.
Za’Darius Smith is also no longer with the Packers and later signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Za’Darius was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Packers but played in only one regular-season game in 2021 before playing a reserve role in the team’s playoff loss to the 49ers. His loss leaves the Packers thin at edge rusher and if either of the two starters got injured, the Packers pass rush would take a big hit.
The offensive line also lost two key players. Starting right tackle Billy Turner was let go and the Packers will miss his leadership, consistency and versatility. Lucas Patrick was also lost as a free agent. Patrick started games at guard and center for the Packers and was a dependable contributor on the offense. The loss of these two play players leaves the Packers thin at offensive line.
The Packers also lost slot cornerback Chandon Sullivan who also signed a free agent deal with the Vikings. The Packers have their top three corners, but who will play in the slot at the “star” position remains a question for the defense.
Overall, the Packers managed to accomplish their biggest goal by keeping Rodgers. Bringing back Campbell and Douglas helps to keep the defense strong.
The release of Za’Darius Smith and Billy Turner were due to salary cap considerations and leave the Packers with some glaring depth needs along the offensive line and at edge linebacker.
The biggest loss was obviously Adams who is arguably the best receiver in the NFL today although Gutekunst did well to get back what he could under the circumstances.
The Packers are not as strong offensively now as they were at the end of last season, but they can still improve their receiver room via the draft, trades and free agency.
Overall Grade: B-
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