Not cornerback, not safety, not running back, no, not even o-line is a more pressing need for the Green Bay Packers than that of the linebacker position. As you could read in my Free Agency In The Cards for the Packers article, I thought that the Packers could possibly sign an off-ball linebacker in free agency, if the price was right of course, because it is such a pressing a need for Green Bay.

Well, at the time of this writing, the Packers have yet to sign a linebacker other than retaining their own in Eric Wilson and Kristian Welch. These two were mostly likely signed back to the Packers roster for depth and special teams. I mean Eric Wilson was a fantastic special teamer for the Packers last season so it makes sense. But other than those two and Quay Walker and Isaiah McDuffie, the Packers don’t have anyone else.

The linebacker position is an even more of pressing need now for Green Bay since they are moving to a 4-3 defense which requires more linebackers to play in base defense. So, the Packers obviously will be adding more to this position before the end of the offseason.

But, who?

Linebacker: Available Free Agents

Kwon Alexander

It feels like Kwon Alexander has been in the league for a very longtime, but is still just 29 years old. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that he is coming off of an Achilles injury. This leaves a ton of question marks for Alexander but prior to his injury he was playing inspired ball with the Steelers.

Alexander, if he can make it back from his injury, could be a fit with the Packers. Having played in the 49ers defense in 2019 and 2020, he should be familiar with the new defense. I’m not saying the Packers should but he is an option.

Zach Cunningham

zach cunningham eagles

Cunningham is still available after playing pretty well for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2023. He has been a tackling machine throughout his NFL career and is a proven run defender. Although, he hasn’t had the best pass coverage skills throughout his career, it too showed improvement in Philly. Could the Packers look to Cunningham to help sure up the linebacker room?

Maybe, but he is gonna be 30 years old soon and doesn’t match the youth movement of the Packers. Green Bay could use the veteran presence but this would only be for one year. Probably not what Brian Gutekunst is looking for right now.

So, that’s about it for the available free agents. I mean I guess they could sign an Isaiah Simmons who is a safety/linebacker hybrid, but his run defense is not the best either. So, yeah. Free agency is probably not going to help. The Packers will look toward the draft.

Linebacker: NFL Draft

Edgerrin Cooper

The Texas A&M linebacker is one of the top linebackers in this year’s NFL draft. He is absolutely fearless. He isn’t afraid to make the tackle and he likes to make sure that his opponents feels it when he does make the tackle. At 22 years old, Cooper isn’t too old coming out of college and would do very well in the Packers new defensive scheme. Cooper’s relative athletic score also makes the cut by a mile with a 9.34 RAS.

linebacker cooper ras

Payton Wilson

Payton Wilson is an athletic marvel. He can play all over the field with his speed. Wilson has fantastic coverage skills at the linebacker position. The linebacker is always near the ball and trying to make the play and most of the time is making the play. The problem with Wilson is that he has had injury problems in the past. Will this continue through his NFL career? Only time will tell. Wilson will be 24 by the time the draft arrives which is a little older for a player leaving college, but the Packers could over look that because of his athletic profile. His RAS is 9.81.

linebacker wilson ras

Jeremiah Trotter

A very smart linebacker, Trotter finds himself in position to make the play most of the time. He matches up very well in the passing game and is not afraid to make the tackle. Trotter, however, has been known to miss tackles every now and then, probably because of his shorter arm lengths. I don’t think this will be a problem as he continues to learn the position in the NFL. He does lack some size which is to his detriment.

Trotter does not qualify for RAS as he did not have enough measurables to determine his athletic profile.

Linebacker Conclusion

The Packers have a ton of work to be done between now and training camp. This is especially true at the linebacker position. These three rookies could be the solution to the linebacker room but a rookie alone won’t be enough. I still believe the Packers need to bring in a veteran presence. I also don’t think that any of the current free agents are the answer.

So, what does that mean?

Don’t be surprised if the Packers try to make a trade. It takes two tango but still. Brian Gutekunst will make sure that he is in every conversation and I wouldn’t be surprised if a linebacker is being discussed in a trade. Something will have to be done. That’s for sure.

It is quite the mystery.

Go Pack Go!


Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.