The Green Bay Packers have already had an eventful offseason with all the Aaron Rodgers drama, the stalled trade talks with the New York Jets, the re-signing of Keisean Nixon and the departures of Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan and Dean Lowry.
But with the draft still a month away followed by OTAs, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst still has a lot to do before the team opens training camp in July.
Here are the top five things the Packers still need to do this offseason to be ready for 2023:
- Complete the Aaron Rodgers Trade
As of now, we know the Packers are ready to move on from Rodgers and Rodgers wants to continue his career with the Jets. But we’re still waiting for the two teams to complete the deal and work out what the Packers will get in return for Rodgers.
Once the trade goes through, the Packers will have a clear grasp on their salary cap situation for 2023 and beyond.
The deal may also include players currently on the Jets roster which could help the Pack fill some of the other holes on the roster before training camp starts.
Completing the trade will also be good psychologically for the Packers as the drama and questions surrounding Rodgers for the past several years will be behind the franchise. Of course, they will be replaced by new questions about how good Jordan Love can become and if he’s ultimately the next great Packers quarterback.
- Extend Rashan Gary
Gary is the Packers premier pass rusher. He’s going to play on his fifth-year option this season in 2023. The former Michigan star is unlikely to be ready to start the regular season as he continues to rehab from his season-ending knee injury suffered in Week 9 against the Lions.
Gary has improved each season he played with the Packers and was on his way to a Pro Bowl season before he was injured.
The team should be confident about Gary’s return even if he is still not at full strength this season. Gary has an excellent work ethic and football intelligence and will work hard to rehab his injury.
The Packers could free up some short-term cap money by signing Gary to an extension and lock up one of their best players on defense for his prime.
While signing Gary before he fully returns from injury would be a bit of a gamble by Gutekunst, the Packers could save a few dollars because of that uncertainty and use it as leverage in negotiations.
- Add a Veteran Wide Receiver
There is a real possibility the Packers get an experienced wide receiver as part of the Rodgers trade with the Jets. If not, they need to add a veteran to the roster. Right now, the Packers have no wideouts on the roster with more than one year of NFL experience.
Lazard has already departed and Randall Cobb is still a free agent who is unlikely to return if Rodgers departs. That means the only remaining wide receivers on the roster are Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure and Bo Melton.
An experienced receiver must be added to give Love some help and give the team depth. It also must be a player who can contribute more than Sammy Watkins did a year ago. Watkins was injured early in the season and didn’t contribute much after he returned to action.
- Add A Couple of Tight Ends
The Packers will not have Robert Tonyan next season and Marcedes Lewis remains an unrestricted free agent who may or may not return to Green Bay. That leaves Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis as the only experienced tight ends on the roster. Deguara is used more as an H-back or fullback and is not a downfield threat as a receiver. Davis is primarily a special teams player.
The Packers should be signing a veteran tight end as a short-term solution especially since rookie tight ends usually take time before they become major contributors at the NFL level. Getting a veteran tight end from the Jets is another possibility.
This year’s draft is a strong one for tight ends and the Packers should draft one in the first two rounds and perhaps taken another on day three of the draft. Michael Mayer and Dalton Kincaid are among the top players available in the draft but there are about five potential first or second round players available and Gutekunst should get one of them.
- Address the Safety Position
Safety remains a question mark for the Packers. They did re-sign backups/special teams specialist Rudy Ford and added Tarvarius Moore who fills a similar role as a depth player on defense and a special teams ace.
They still have Darnell Savage on the roster although he was benched last season and may be best suited as a nickel back. Adrian Amos is an unrestricted free agent who could be re-signed as a short-term option if the market for him isn’t strong. John Johnston III is also available on the free agent market and has been a starter throughout his six-year NFL career.
The Packers will also need to spend some early draft picks on a safety to find a long-term option at the position. The safety class is not as strong as the tight end class but the Packers will still need to add at least one quality safety in the draft next month.
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