The Green Bay Packers are facing a lot of uncertainty as we enter the 2023 NFL offseason. Much of that revolves around quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his future with the organization. Obviously, the plan for the new season changes if Rodgers departs and it changes if he stays depending on what kind of contract modifications he’s willing to agree upon and how much cap space that frees up.
The Packers still have several positions on their roster that will need reinforcements if the team hopes to be competitive again in 2023. Here are the top five Packers areas of needs entering the 2023 offseason. Again, these are subject to change depending on which players are back with the team next season and which are not brought back.
There is a lot riding on what Rodgers and the Packers front office decide to do but either way, it appears quarterback will be a need.
If Rodgers stays, it is rumored that backup Jordan Love could demand a trade rather than be a backup behind AR-12 for the fourth straight season. While this isn’t guaranteed, it certainly makes sense as the former Utah State star wants a chance to start and prove his worth in the NFL.
GM Brian Gutekunst also must decide whether to pick up Love’s fifth-year option worth more than $20.27 million.
If Rodgers stays and Love goes, the Packers need to find a backup for Rodgers and an heir apparent either through the draft, a trade or free agency.
If Love stays and Rodgers is shipped elsewhere or retires, a backup to Love must be added, preferably a veteran who could step in if the former first round pick struggles.
Whichever way this quarterback drama plays out, the Packers need to add a quarterback this offseason unless both Rodgers and Love are back in Green Bay next season.
- Wide Receiver
The Packers drafted three wide receivers in 2022 and all of them made the roster. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs made significant contributions when healthy while Samori Toure hopes for an extended role in his second season.
But there is uncertainty at the position. Allen Lazard is an unrestricted free agent and has already said he thinks he’s played his last game as a Packer. Randall Cobb’s contract is also up. The veteran is likely to be back on a team-friendly deal if Rodgers returns but at this stage of his career, Cobb is a depth player who will make modest contributions to the offense.
The team should be looking for a veteran to contribute right away and a rookie who can step into a larger role in a season or two during this offseason.
- Edge Rusher
Edge is a need because of age, injuries and a lack of depth. Rashan Gary is the team’s best pass rusher but he was lost for the season last year in Week 9 when he suffered a serious knee injury and he will likely be rehabbing that injury until the middle of the 2023 season. It may take even longer for Gary to get back to his pre-injury form.
Preston Smith should be back and the Packers are hoping for more from Kingsley Enagbare in his second season after a rookie campaign that showed promise after Gary got hurt.
After those three there is precious little depth. Edge is one of the most important positions on defense and the Packers need to fortify the position for the short term until Gary returns and in the long term as Smith is 30 and will probably be phased out after 2023 or 2024 at the latest.
Will Robert Tonyan be back? He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this season unless he signs a team-friendly deal to return.
Marcedes Lewis also has an expiring contract. While Lewis has stated he wants to return in 2023 and Rodgers wants him back, he has yet to sign a new deal to return. While Lewis plays an important role as a blocker, he is limited as a receiver at this point in his career and even if he returns, the Packers need a tight end who can stretch the field and consistently contribute to the passing game.
There is a lot of uncertainty here as Josiah Deguara is the only player at the position with experience and who is under contract for next season.
Even if Tonyan and Lewis return, the Packers need to add a player who can be the future at this position and give the quarterback a solid option to throw to.
Adrian Amos is an unrestricted free agent and his return is uncertain after the drop off in his play in 2022. Darnell Savage was inconsistent again last season. He got off to a slow start and was benched before playing a bit better down the stretch. Rudy Ford is also not under contract for 2023.
There are possibilities on the roster such as moving Rasul Douglas to safety, but even then, the team lacks proven performers at safety and depth. Bringing back Amos would greatly lessen the immediate need but he’ll be a challenge to retain given the Packers cap limitations.
Safety ranks as the team’s top need as of now both in the short term and long term. Expect Gutekunst to use the draft and either free agency or a trade to add talent here during the offseason.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
Click here for more great Packers coverage