Green Bay Packers fans have entered into the most critical offseason this franchise has had in recent memory. Just a few decisions this offseason can completely alter the future of the organization for better or worse. Here are some of the Packers offseason decisions that the team will be forced to make over the coming weeks.
Make a decision on Aaron Rodgers
The biggest thing on the Packers’ checklist this offseason shouldn’t be a surprise. If you have watched any national sports program in the last two weeks you know exactly what I’m talking about. For the second straight year, the Packers are at a crossroads with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Following Tom Brady’s second retirement on Wednesday, it’s safe to assume that Rodgers will be back in 2023. The question is, where will he be playing?
As it stands today, it appears that the Packers are willing to deal the four-time MVP if the right deal is in place. Teams such as the New York Jets and the Las Vegas Raiders seem like the most interested parties to start negotiations. A Rodgers trade would open the door for quarterback Jordan Love to take over in Green Bay after being selected in the first round back in 2020.
However, the Packers also have the choice of keeping Rodgers and his current contract in hopes of running it back once again. That decision would likely mean that Rodgers would finish out his career in Green Bay, but the team will miss out on a potential massive trade offer that they could receive in return. And what would keeping Rodgers mean for Love’s future?
It’s quite a conundrum for the Packers and likely will be the biggest decision general manager Brian Gutekunst will ever make in his career. A lot is riding on this decision and it’ll be interesting to see how the Packers handle it over the next few weeks.
Address the tight-end position
The Green Bay Packers truly haven’t had a dominant tight end in the passing game since 2013. Therefore, the team is nearing a full decade since Jermichael Finley left. The Packers have tried to address the need in the past, exploring players such as Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, and dare I say, Martellus Bennett.
Recently the Packers have settled with a tight end room highlighted by Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis. Lewis, a grizzled veteran and incredible locker room presence, is going on year 18 in the NFL and has been primarily used as a sixth offensive lineman in the run game. In 2020, Tonyan looked to be the Packers’ savior at the position after recording 11 touchdowns in 16 games. However, an ACL injury derailed his dominance and he has only recorded two scores in the last two seasons combined.
Fortunately for the Packers, the team has a great opportunity to address this need in April. This year’s draft class features one of the best tight-end groups the league has seen in years. The Packers have the option to spend high on a player like Michael Mayer in the first round or they can wait until Day Two to select either Dalton Kincaid or Darnell Washington. Mayer and Kincaid showcase exceptional receiving abilities while Washington serves as a big-bodied threat while having the blocking ability that can be used similarly to Lewis.
There are plenty of options for the Packers to choose from in terms of upgrading the position this offseason either through the draft or even through free agency. If Green Bay fails to address this need over the next few months, it will be seen as a colossal mistake.
Handle current free agents
The bulk of the decisions made regarding the Packers’ current free agents will of course depend on Rodgers’ future in Green Bay. If Rodgers returns next season as a Packer, that will likely mean the return of Tonyan, Lewis, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Mason Crosby. Crosby, given his historic career in Green Bay, should be expected to return no matter the decision at quarterback. The rest, however, could be finding new homes in 2023 if Rodgers is in fact traded.
Players that I anticipate coming back next season are Adrian Amos, Keisean Nixon, and Yosh Nijman. The Packers’ safety room is bone dry and keeping a veteran in the room has to be critical. Nixon certainly made his mark this season and the Packers would be foolish to not bring him back. As for Nijman, the 27-year-old has been a serviceable lineman for the Packers at both left and right tackle and should return to keep that consistency upfront next season.
Add another wide receiver
Going into this next season, the Packers are still in need of finding another option in the passing game at the wide receiver position. While rookie receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs were exceptional last season, this offense is still lacking a big-bodied reliable target.
Whether it’s Rodgers or Love at quarterback, both players likely feel this same way. From the way I see it, a reliable possession receiver is the only thing the Packers’ offense is missing. Getting a sure-handed wide receiver can help the Packers’ offense move the chains more efficiently while taking the pressure off of the younger receivers.
The biggest name on the current market is DeAndre Hopkins. The 30-year-old would be an immediate upgrade at the position and could be the catalyst toward another Super Bowl run sooner than later. However, it’s unlikely to see the Packers dish out draft picks in order to acquire him. Marvin Jones Jr. could be the Packers’ best option given his expected market value and given the amount of talent the Jacksonville Jaguars will have at the position next year. Making a move for him in free agency seems right up the Packers’ alley while rounding out the wide receiver room.——————
Kole Noble is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in North Carolina and is a huge NFL Draft nut. You can follow him on twitter at @SlawSportsShow.