The Green Bay Packers and the rest of the NFL will begin signing free agents this week as the new league year begins. We still don’t know who the Pack will re-sign and what new players, if any, GM Brian Gutekunst will bring in. Safety, interior offensive line, linebacker and running back are potential positions the Packers could add this offseason. But one thing is certain, Gutekunst was smart last season in choosing which players to retain and which to let test the market. Here we show why the Packers made the right decisions on each free agent signing.

Packers Free Agent from Last Year Number One: WR Allen Lazard

The Packers decided not to re-sign Allen Lazard when he hit the free agent market last offseason. The former Iowa State star joined Aaron Rodgers and signed with the New York Jets as a free agent.

Lazard was the Packers de facto number one receiver in 2022 and caught a career-high 60 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns. He was also one of the better blocking wide receivers which the Pack always valued.

With the Jets, Lazard struggled and caught just 23 passes for 311 yards and one touchdown. He was even inactive for a few games due to his lack of production. Obviously, the Jets quarterback situation after Rodgers was lost for the season in Week 1 didn’t help.

The Packers replaced Lazard with a young group of receivers that started the season off slowly but were dangerous and productive by the second half of the campaign.

Number Two: DL Dean Lowry

Veteran defensive lineman Dean Lowry provided the Packers with steady play along the defensive line for seven seasons. The Packers let him walk last year and he signed with the division rival Minnesota Vikings.

Lowry never provided much pass rush for the Packers with a total of 15.5 sacks over those seven years in green and gold. His strength was always his steady play against the run and his ability to stay healthy.

Lowry played nine games with the Vikings in 2023 before being lost for the season with a pectoral injury. He finished the season with 14 total tackles and no sacks while starting four games.

The Packers replaced Lowry with draft picks Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks who both showed promise and provided more pass rush than Lowry in their rookie seasons.

Packers Free Agent from Last Year Number Three: TE Robert Tonyan

Tight end Robert Tonyan enjoyed his best season with the Packers in 2020 when he caught 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2021, he struggled early before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Gutekunst decided not to re-sign Tonyan after the 2022 campaign and the former Indiana State star signed with the Chicago Bears. With Chicago, Tonyan became a non-factor. He played all 17 games and started six but caught just 11 passes for 112 yards. He did not catch a touchdown pass all season.

The Packers replaced him with draft picks Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft who each were significantly more productive than Tonyan and still have the potential to improve as they get more comfortable in the NFL.

Number Four: S Adrian Amos

The Packers signed Adrian Amos as part of the free agent class of 2019. Amos spent four years in Green Bay and was productive for three of them. In 2022, his play dropped off and the team opted not to re-sign him.

Amos initially signed with the Jets and played 11 games with the team, starting three. He made 23 total tackles and did not intercept a pass. The Jets released him in early December. Amos finished the season with the Houston Texans and played five games for them.

The Packers did retain Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford and signed Jonathan Owens at safety but all three of them are now unrestricted free agents.

Packers Free Agent from Last Year Number Five: WR Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb returned to the Packers in 2021 at the request of Rodgers. When Rodgers demanded to be traded to the Jets, Cobb followed his friend and signed with New York. The 33-year-old Kentucky alum was already on the downside of his career when he rejoined the Pack.

Cobb failed to produce much with the Jets in 2023. He played 11 games and started one. Cobb caught just five passes for 39 yards and one touchdown. All those numbers were career lows.

The Packers added draft picks Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks to replace Cobb, and both were much more productive than the veteran.

Number Six: TE Marcedes Lewis

Marcedes Lewis spent five seasons with the Packers and served as the team’s primary blocking tight end. The Packers did not bring him back for 2023 and he signed with the Bears. In Chicago, the 39-year-old veteran played all 17 games and started four. He caught four passes for 28 yards and one touchdown.

The Packers did not have a blocking tight end as consistent as Lewis, with Ben Sims filling that role during the season.

Lewis may retire now that he’s the longest-serving tight end in NFL history. The Packers depth chart at tight end was clearly better in 2023 than the previous season.

Packers Free Agent from Last Year Number Seven: K Mason Crosby

The Packers opted not to bring back Mason Crosby, the team’s all-time leading scorer. They replaced him with sixth-round pick Anders Carlson who struggled with consistency issues throughout his rookie campaign.

While Carlson wasn’t always reliable, it does appear it was time to move on from Crosby. Carlson’s kickoffs were deeper and better than his predecessor’s. In addition, when Crosby signed with the Giants late in the season, he missed two field goals and an extra point in two games.

Overall, Gutekunst showed he knew when it was time to move on from potential free agents. The Packers hope he will be equally successful this offseason.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

Click here for more great Packers coverage