The Green Bay Packers have been busy during free agency although it’s mostly been signing their own players to new deals. So far, the Pack has re-signed running back Aaron Jones, tight end Marcedes Lewis, and cornerback Kevin King. They also signed offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and defensive lineman Kenny Clark to extensions during the 2020 season to prevent them from becoming UFAs this offseason.
As of now, the only new free agent the Packers have added is long snapper Joe Fortunato who will compete with incumbent Hunter Bradley for that position on the roster.
Although some of the biggest names that were available have already signed elsewhere, there are still plenty of players available who can make contributions to the Packers in 2021.
Here is a look at the Packers biggest needs after the first wave of free agency. This list specifically looks at areas where the team is more likely to address with a moderately-priced free agent and are not identical to the overall team needs many of which will be addressed in the draft.
All-Pro Corey Linsley is the biggest loss the Packers suffered in free agency. While Green Bay has several in house options to replace Linsley at center, they may still want to sign a free agent like Austin Reiter to fill the gap.
If the Packers don’t spend money on a free agent center, they could move guards Elgton Jenkins or Lucas Patrick to center. They also drafted Jake Hanson last season although he may not be ready for starting duty in the NFL after not playing a game in his rookie campaign.
I wouldn’t expect the Packers to spend big at center but bringing in a free agent center for depth or to compete for a starting role is clearly a need and a possibility.
The Packers re-signed King and are expected to draft at least one cornerback during the first two days of the draft this year. But Green Bay could still use some veteran depth at the cornerback position. Fortunately, there are several quality options still out there including veteran Richard Sherman and former Packer Casey Hayward although the price may be a little too high for the Packers.
The Packers have tendered nickel back Chandon Sullivan although he has yet to sign a contract with either Green Bay or another team.
With King’s return, the addition of another veteran and a high draft pick at cornerback could give the Packers one of the deepest and most talented secondaries in the NFL.
- Inside Linebacker
Veteran Christian Kirksey was let go by the Packers although Kirksey had lost his starting job to the duo of Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes. Behind Martin and Barnes, the Packers still have Ty Summers and Oren Burks, neither of whom has become a reliable player on defense.
Inside linebacker has long been an area of need for the Packers although it’s never been a high priority for the organization. There are still some quality free agents out there for Green Bay to sign like Avery Williamson, Kwon Alexander or De’Vondre Campbell.
- Defensive Line
The Packers have a great interior lineman in Clark and then a lot of question marks after that. Green Bay lost Montravius Adams, who signed with New England and did not tender Tyler Lancaster who is now an unrestricted free agent.
The Packers have not prioritized this position in the past but they can add some quality players here without breaking the bank if they aren’t looking for players with a lot of pass rushing ability.
Some of the players out there include Jurrell Casey if the Packers are willing to spend a little more money, or perhaps Danny Shelton who could replace Snacks Harrison and be a run stuffer in the middle of the defensive line.
- Offensive Tackle
The Packers know that All Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari will not be ready to start the season after he suffered a serious knee injury in practice late last season. The departure of Rick Wagner also leaves the Pack without an experienced and proven swing tackle. There is a lack of depth right now at this position for the Packers.
The Pack will likely select a tackle early in the draft but GM Brian Gutekunst will also be looking to add a veteran swing tackle who can give the Packers immediate help at this position over the short term and who can open the season as the starter until Bakhtiari is ready to return.
Russell Okung would be an effective stopgap veteran starter if the Packers could add him. Okung will be 33 in October so signing him to a one-year or two-year deal would be ideal for the Packers.
The Packers could also opt to bring back Jared Veldheer or Wagner if they are looking for a short-term veteran solution at offensive tackle.
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