The Green Bay Packers have had a busy start to the 2019 league year. From cutting players and moving on from their own free agents, to doling out big money to bring in new faces, the Packers have been active under Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur.
Some of the moves were met with relief and applause from Packers fans. Adding Adrian Amos, Preston Smith, and Za’Darius Smith represents an influx of young talent to a defense desperately in need of it. Releasing Nick Perry, who underperformed since inking a new contract, and choosing not to bring back Kentrell Brice faced little opposition from the masses.
But while the additions and some subtractions came easily for many, there were others that hit harder among the Green Bay faithful. The roster changes represented a metaphorical changing of the guard as a handful of fan favorites departed the Packers or retired from the league altogether. While the moves made sense for the team going forward, it doesn’t change the fact that the offseason has been full of emotion in Green Bay.
It’s downright amazing how quickly things have changed for the Packers. Green Bay has only four players left who played on the 2010 Super Bowl winning team: Aaron Rodgers, Bryan Bulaga, Mason Crosby, and Tramon Williams, with only the first three having played exclusively for the Packers since then.
Perhaps even more staggering is that only eight players remain on the team from the 2015 roster, including none of the Packers’ draft picks from that year. But even with a lot of turnover, it was this past offseason that seemed more hard-hitting. Outside of Lambeau, Jordy Nelson and T.J. Lang both officially retired. The two were key parts of an explosive Green Bay offense for years, developing into fan favorites.
While they did not retire, the Packers lost two other players who were faces of the franchise for years. Clay Matthews signed with the Rams, and Randall Cobb joined the Cowboys. These moves made sense for Green Bay, as they needed to move on from aging, less productive stars and form a new identity. But again, that won’t make it easier to see them suit up in different uniforms in 2019.
With the draft less than a month away, the team is well on its way to forming a new-look roster that can turn Green Bay back into a contender. An emotional offseason in which fan favorites departed or retired has the Packers looking different in 2019, but those changes are necessary to try and bring a championship back to Green Bay.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .