The Green Bay Packers 2023 season came to an end Saturday night in Santa Clara when they lost a close game to the San Francisco 49ers, 24-21. The Packers finished with a 9-8 record and won their first playoff game in dominant fashion over the Cowboys in Dallas. The NFL is a business and every season, there are players who will not be back with the Packers next year. Here is a look at 13 players on the Packers current roster who may not be back with the club in 2024. We analyze why they may not be back and what their chances are of returning to the Packers next season. Players are listed alphabetically by last name.

Most of these players are unrestricted free agents. Exclusive rights free agents and restricted free agents are not included here.

First Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: CB Corey Ballentine

Corey Ballentine stepped up when injuries hit the Packers secondary and after GM Brian Gutekunst traded Rasul Douglas. He started six games and played in 14. The former Washburn star intercepted one pass and broke up seven.

Opposing quarterbacks completed just 56.3 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Ballentine and had a quarterback rating of 81.2.

Ballentine will be an unrestricted free agent. He could be back as a depth piece unless he finds a more lucrative deal elsewhere.

Chance of Returning: 50 percent

Second Player: OT David Bakhtiari

Unlike most of the players on this list, David Bakhtiari is under contract for 2024. However, his age, injury status, and the fact that the Packers could save roughly $20 million in cap space by trading or releasing him before the start of the season makes it less likely he returns to the Packers next year.

When healthy, Bakhtiari still played at a high level. The problem is he played only one game this year and 13 total games in the last three seasons due to complications from a knee injury suffered late in the 2020 campaign.

Would the New York Jets be interested in acquiring Bakhtiari to reunite him with Aaron Rodgers? Would Bakhtiari be willing to take less money to stay in Green Bay? We’ll find out the answers to these questions this offseason.

Chance of Returning: 25 percent

Third Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: TE Tyler Davis

Tyler Davis missed the entire 2023 season due to an injury suffered in preseason. He could give the team some experienced depth at tight end if he returns. Davis provided the team with strong play on special teams in the past and could fill that role again.

The Packers may re-sign Davis if he’s willing to return for a reasonable deal.

Chance of Returning: 45 percent

Fourth Player: H-Back Josiah Deguara

Josiah Deguara was the team’s primary H-back/fullback. The former University of Cincinnati star caught eight passes for 65 yards this season. His primary role was as a blocker. He was not even targeted in the passing game in the final seven regular season games or either postseason contest.

Deguara’s role continued to shrink as the season progressed. He played just 20 percent of the team’s snaps on offense but had a larger role on special teams.

The Packers could find a rookie to play a similar role to Deguara for less money so it’s unlikely he’ll be back.

Chances of Returning: 30 percent

Fifth Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: RB A.J. Dillon

A.J. Dillon will be a free agent now that his rookie contract has expired. The Boston College alum gained 613 yards rushing while starting six games and playing in 15 for the Packers. This is the third consecutive season his yardage total and yards per carry have gone down.

Dillon struggled early in the season, improved a bit in the middle and then suffered a broken thumb that forced him to miss the final two games of the year.

Dillon is not a dynamic runner. He’ll hit the hole and gain what his blockers open up for him, but he lacks the ability to change direction at an elite level. When at his best, he can be tough to bring down one-on-one because of his size.

The Packers will likely move on from Dillon and draft a cheaper replacement.

Chance of Returning: 30 percent

Sixth Player: S Rudy Ford

Rudy Ford started nine games for the Packers in 2023 and played in 13. He also led the team with two interceptions this season.

Ford was originally acquired for his special teams prowess although he didn’t play much on special teams this year. His play at safety was up and down.

The Packers could bring him back as an experienced player who could compete for a job next season, but they will almost certainly draft one or more safeties in the 2024 NFL Draft. Three safeties who played big roles this season are on this list so how many of them will return remains a question.

Chances of Returning: 50 percent

Seventh Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: DB Keisean Nixon

Keisean Nixon earned All Pro honors as a kick returner for the second consecutive season. He also saw extensive playing time on defense as the team’s primary slot corner.

As a return specialist, Nixon led the league in yards and average per kick return. On defense, Nixon had a rough start but improved in coverage as the season progressed. He still allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 77.8 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Nixon which is far too high a number.

Nixon’s best value is as a kick returner. He’s fearless and dangerous any time he touches the football. His attitude is contagious and has a positive impact on the locker room. He’s also a favorite of special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

The big question will be whether Nixon receives a better offer elsewhere that the Packers are unable or unwilling to match.

Chances of Returning: 50 percent

Eighth Player: OT Yosh Nijman

The Packers invested in Yosh Nijman and developed him from a practice squad player to a starting tackle. This season, he played in all 17 games but started only one, losing out to Zach Tom on the right side in training camp and then Rasheed Walker on the left side after Bakhtiari was lost for the season.

Nijman played 21 percent of the team’s offensive snaps this season. He has great natural tools but seems to struggle to finish plays and keep fighting until the whistle.

Nijman will likely look to sign with another team where he will have a better chance to start in 2024.

Chances of Returning: 25 percent

Ninth Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: S Jonathan Owens

Jonathan Owens signed a one-year deal with the Packers before this season. He started 11 games at safety and played in all 17. He scored a critical touchdown against the Lions on Thanksgiving when he scooped up a fumble and ran 27 yards for a score.

Owens is a better tackler and run defender than he is in coverage. Opposing quarterbacks completed 65.6 percent of their passes and had a quarterback rating of 118.2 when throwing to receivers covered by Owens this season. He also contributed on special teams.

Owens could be brought back at a reasonable price for his contributions, but the Packers will not overpay for his services.

Chances of Returning: 50 percent

Tenth Player: G Jon Runyan

Guard Jon Runyan completed his fourth season with the Packers and his third as a starter. Unfortunately, Runyan’s play regressed a bit this season after two solid seasons prior to 2023.

By the end of this year, the former Michigan star was rotating with Sean Rhyan at right guard although Runyan still played 85 percent of the Packers offensive snaps for the season.

Runyan is a solid pass blocker but below average as a run blocker. With Rhyan viewed as a potential future starter, it’s unlikely the Packers will bring Runyan back.

Chances of Returning: 30 percent

Eleventh Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: S Darnell Savage

Former first round pick Darnell Savage is a free agent after playing 2023 on his fifth-year option. Injuries limited the former Maryland star to 10 games this season. He had his biggest moment in the playoff game against Dallas when he scored on a 64-yard pick six.

Savage played his best football in the second half of the 2020 season when he was performing at a near Pro Bowl level. The Packers never quite found the right way to utilize Savage to maximize his potential. The athletic ability and speed are there but he often misses tackles and tends to be inconsistent.

The Packers have three of their top safeties on their list of free agents and it’s likely one of them returns. Of the three, Savage may be the one most likely to receive a generous offer elsewhere.

Chances of Returning: 45 percent

Twelfth Player: LB Kristian Welch

Kristian Welch is a special teams ace and Wisconsin native who played 14 games for the Packers this season. He did not take a snap on defense all season. The Packers could bring him back on a one-year, minimum contract to continue his strong special teams play.

Chances of Returning: 40 percent

Thirteenth Player Who May Have Played His Last Game for the Packers: LB Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson filled the fourth spot on the Packers depth chart at ILB. With all the injuries at the position, he played 121 snaps on defense while being a major contributor on special teams.

Wilson’s hustle was on full display in the playoff loss to the 49ers when he recovered Nixon’s fumble after his long kick return.

Wilson would be a valuable special teams player if the team chooses to bring him back.

Chances of Returning: 50 percent




Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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