After locking down Jaire Alexander with a 4 year extension this offseason, Green Bay ensured that the trio of Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas are all under contract through the 2024 season. This undoubtedly gives them one of the top cornerback groups across the league. Mix in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, and the Packers secondary looks to be as complete as any. But the depth behind that group leaves a lot to be desired. And the Packers have seen first-hand in recent years the importance of having competent back-ups behind their star players.
In an NFL where nickel has become the new base defense, the Packers basically have a starting 5 on the back end. Jaire, Stokes, and Douglas will all play the majority of defensive snaps at corner. But behind those three, there is a lot of unknown. Outside of the “big 3,” the corners on the Packers roster have played a combined 310 NFL defensive snaps. For reference, Eric Stokes played 935 in his rookie season. For a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, they simply can’t go into a season one snap away from relying on undrafted free agents or special teams players.
The situation isn’t any better at safety, either. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage both started all 17 games last year, but the Packers can’t bank on that again. And after the failure of the Henry Black experiment, the other other safety on the roster with any defensive snaps is Vernon Scott – who didn’t play a single snap in 2021, but had 89 snaps his rookie year in 2020. The drafting of Quay Walker does help alleviate this some, as he can assume many of the snaps the Packers split between Black and Kevin King a season ago.
With that said, bringing back Kevin King on yet another one year deal isn’t a bad option. He has familiarity in the system, and when healthy he has still showed glimpses of the talent that made him a second round pick. His injuries have robbed him of some of his lateral mobility, but as a CB4 he offers value. Someone like Chris Harris could also offer experience and bolster depth. He will turn 33 years old before the start of the season, and missed 10 games over the last 2 years due to injury. But he won’t command a huge contract, and could plug in the slot and dime packages and give him his best shot at a second ring.
At safety, Jaquiski Tartt is another name that could give the Packers veteran depth. Playing in 80 games over seven years for the 49er’s, he could be a solid piece at strong safety for Green Bay, and could also drop down into the dime linebacker role for them.
Regardless of who it is, the Packers need to add to this secondary before kickoff in September. As GM Brian Gutekunst says – roster building is a 365 day process. Whether it’s a free agent or a training camp cut, they need to add another veteran on the back end to make sure this team has it’s best chance of bringing Lombardi #5 back home.——————
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.