The Green Bay Packers have gone from a team full of veteran players to one of the younger teams in the NFL this offseason. While the most prominent departure during the offseason was quarterback Aaron Rodgers, many other veterans over 30 have left Green Bay since the end of last season.
Other key players who were over 30 who have left the team since last year include tight end Marcedes Lewis, kicker Mason Crosby, safety Adrian Amos, wide receiver Randall Cobb and defensive lineman Jarran Reed.
The departed players (including Rodgers) have 72 combined years of NFL experience. They are all being replaced by much younger players.
At wide receiver, for example, no player on the roster has more than one year of NFL experience right now. Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson and Samori Toure are the most experienced players on the current roster. All were rookies a year ago.
Quarterback Jordan Love has one career NFL start while Aaron Rodgers has started 223 regular season games in his career thus far.
The Packers will be relying on two rookies to play extensive snaps at tight end. Second round pick Luke Musgrave and third round selection Tucker Kraft likely to get most of the snaps at the position. Returnee Josiah Deguara is expected to continue to see action predominantly at H-back and fullback.
The Packers currently have only one kicker on the roster, and he is a rookie. Anders Carlson was a sixth-round pick this year. The Auburn alum will have to learn about kicking in the wind and cold of Lambeau Field in November, December and January.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst could still sign a veteran these positions at some point between now and the start of training camp. Right now, the Packers currently have only three players who are 30 or older on their 90-man roster. There is also one more who will turn 30 before the start of the new season.
The oldest player on the present roster is punter Pat O’Donnell. He’s entering his 10th season in the NFL and his second with the Packers. Gutekunst signed O’Donnell last offseason as a free agent after he spent eight seasons with the Chicago Bears. He is presently 32 years old.
Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia had recommended that the Packers sign O’Donnell as he helped revamp the special teams unit. He is the favorite to hold onto this job as punter and holder for field goals and extra points. His competition is undrafted rookie Daniel Whelan.
The Veteran Who Has Been Here the Longest
Offensive tackle David Bakhtiari is the next oldest player on the roster at 31. He will turn 32 on September 30th. The former Colorado star has spent his entire NFL career with the Packers since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Bakhtiari is considered one of the best pass blockers and offensive tackles in the league when healthy. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All Pro.
Unfortunately, Bakhtiari has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons. A knee injury he suffered before the season finale in 2020 cost him all but one game of the 2021 season. The knee injury and an emergency appendectomy also limited him to 11 games last year.
The Packers are hoping Bakhtiari can stay healthy and return to his elite form this season. He played at a high level last season when he was in the lineup.
The only remaining player 30 or older on the current roster is edge rusher Preston Smith who is 30 and will turn 31 in November.
This will be Smith’s fifth season with the Packers after Gutekunst signed him as a free agent before the 2019 campaign. He had a team leading 8.5 sacks last season. With Rashan Gary still rehabbing his injured knee, Smith will be counted on to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks especially early in the season.
Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell is the only other player currently who will turn 30 before the season ends. Campbell will turn 30 July 1st so he will join the group before training camp opens next month.
The Packers will be counting on these four veterans for leadership this season on a team that is young but full of talent and potential. It will certainly be a season of change in Green Bay, but these four players will give the team some stability during this season.
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