This Packers offseason will present a massive list of decisions to make, both big and small. Right now, they are undoubtedly making plans upon plans preparing for the coming chaos. Most decisions they make will be questioned and not a single one will be universally praised. For the Packers every version of their plans are going to have two items on their offseason to-do highlighted and starred. Without effectively addressing these two areas, they will be in a bind come the 2022 season.
I’m sure that they wish that this wasn’t on their to-do list. A calendar year later and they are exactly where they started, firing their coordinator, and looking to start over. It’s possible that the unit even got worse this year, with the regression of veteran Mason Crosby.
Admittedly, his season was drastically impacted by inept blocking but he was also responsible for a number of missed kicks himself. Additionally, Crosby now consistently struggles on kickoffs getting the distance and hangtime necessary to challenge returners. Couple that with a high salary and the Packers could look to head in another direction.
Punter looked to be solved in early returns from newly arrived punter Corey Bojorquez. However, as the weather turned, his punting was erratic wasn’t the consistent weapon the Packers needed. Bojorquez is a free agent this offseason and even in the Packers bring him back, it wouldn’t be surprising for there to be a true punting competition in training camp.
Beyond the biggest two positions on the special teams, it’s clear that the Packers need a complete reset in this phase of the ball. A new vision, implementation, and execution, coupled with acquiring some key contributors on in all parts of the unit will help answer some of the many questions the Packers must answer here.
The Packers receiving corps will likely look radically different in 2022. Both the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers have more questions than answers and many decisions will need to be made, large and small.
The biggest decision will be regarding Davante Adams. For Adams, the question is clear: do the Packers sign him to a record setting contract? There is absolutely no debate that he has earned every penny, but is it the right allocation of their limited resources?
With a massive list of needs, perhaps the Packers will determine that they cannot afford what Adams wants. If this is the case, will the Packers try to franchise tag to control his destination? That definitely wouldn’t make Adams happy but would help lessen the blow of his departure.
The next toughest decision is Tight End Robert Tonyan, for radically different reasons. He had a forgettable 2021 season which ended early with a torn ACL. The Packers need a player like Tonyan to make their offense hum. However, after playing this year on a 1 year tenure, he likely will be looking for a multiyear deal if possible, especially given his injury. Another factor is his recovery timeline. As the Packers witnessed with David Bakhtiari, ACL injuries are not easy to return from. They will know the best how well his rehabilitation is going and what his timeline to return looks like. If the Packers can’t bring him back on a one year deal, it’s unlikely Tonyan is in the green and gold in 2022.
Beyond Adams and Tonyan, the Packers have numerous decisions to make. Keep Cobb at a renegotiated rate or take the cap savings immediately by cutting him? How do they prioritize Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling? It’s possible that all, some or none of these three players will be playing elsewhere in 2022. Additionally, will Mercedes Lewis, the heart and soul of the Packers offense, call it a career? Everywhere you turn, the Packers have questions, but not many answers.
How the Packers implement their offseason strategy to keep some players, letting others go, as well as bringing in news weapons will be a major storyline throughout the offseason. If the Packers cannot build up a stockpile, it will be a massive challenge to have an offense that can contend in 2022.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.