The Green Bay Packers have done nothing outside of bringing back familiar names to the roster so far this offseason. That’s unless you mention the signing of long snapper Joe Fortunato, who went undrafted in 2016 and has never actually played in an NFL game.
Some of this was to be expected; they don’t have any cap room. Even so, Packers fans expected something to be done in a few of the areas of need. Instead, Green Bay is going with the “run it back” method, resigning a handful of players that have been on the team for extended periods of time.
Let’s rank the offseason moves by Green Bay:
1. Hiring Joe Barry as Defensive Coordinator
How about that? You’re going over the article expecting to see Aaron Jones‘ name at the top of the list, and then you’re smacked across the eyes with some Joe Barry.
The decision to put Barry atop the list is not for his name alone, but more so that the Packers recognized a change needed to be made on the defensive coaching staff. Mike Pettine showed flashes but never concrete consistency. With a unit with names like Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage and countless others, the Packers defense should be much more of a disruptive unit than it showed under Pettine. Because of that, just the move itself to bring in a new defensive coordinator puts Barry’s hiring at the top of the list.
Now it’s Barry’s job to validate the move and prove that it was the right one.
2. Re-Signing Aaron Jones
Now we get to the obvious one. Many had set their minds toward accepting a reality in which the Packers couldn’t afford Jones, and he would accept a blank check elsewhere and be on his way. There was no bitterness from fans about this. They were happy that Jones would finally get paid for how good of a running back he had become.
Then came Brian Gutekunst and the rest of the Packers’ brain trust in the final hours, agreeing with Jones and his agent just before the legal tampering period was set to begin in free agency. The move gives this Packers offense its main core back that consists of Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Jones. That’s arguably the best quarterback, arguably the best wide receiver and arguably one of the best two-way backs in the league. All under the same roof at Lambeau Field.
Bringing back Jones was a move that signaled the Packers know the window to win a title with Rodgers is still wide open. What happens with his contract is a sidebar topic. Bringing back Jones assured the rest of the offense that Gutekunst and Co. would make the moves they can to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home in 2021.
By re-signing him, the Packers keep around one of the most dynamic running back in the league and do so on a very team-friendly deal backloaded with tons of team options.
3. Re-Signing Marcedes Lewis
THE BIG DOG!
There is something to be said about having a veteran locker room presence player on the roster and how truly valuable it is. The Packers resigned Marcedes Lewis, and it wasn’t because they expect him to go out and dominate on the field, hauling in passes left and right. It’s the opposite of that.
Lewis has emerged as one of the most-liked players on the roster. It’s what he does, helping the other guys on the squad, motivating and keeping things at the level they need to be on the team. Lewis keeps the good vibes rolling, much like what Jamaal Williams did when he was in Green Bay. Williams’s presence on the field will be sorely missed. But just as important, the team will miss his carefree personality and positive attitude just as much.
Those dudes matter in a locker room. You don’t see the direct impact on the field. Bringing back Lewis was a wise move.
4. Tendering Robert Tonyan
This one can be short, sweet and to the point. Robert Tonyan burst on to the scene in 2020 for the Packers, tying for the league lead in touchdown receptions by a tight end (11) with Travis Kelce. Not bad company to be around.
With the Packers slapping a second-round tender on Tonyan, they have assured that even if he signs a contract elsewhere, the Packers can choose to match the deal or let him go and receive a second-round pick as compensation.
It was a no-brainer decision for Green Bay and the smart move to make.
5. Re-Signing Kevin King
The goal here is not to pile on Kevin King, but when the Packers re-signed him, there was a deflating feeling amongst Green Bay fans. King was miserable in the NFC Championship. Even though he showed a lot of good early on in 2020, as the season carried on, he faded away and couldn’t knock free of the injury bug that has plagued him throughout his career.
By re-signing him, Green Bay has depth at a spot where they desperately needed it.
The hope is King can stay on the field and that under Barry, he is put in a position to succeed. Certainly, the Packers aren’t expected to be done adding to the cornerback spot after only re-signing King and tendering Chandon Sullivan.
Much has stayed the same this offseason in Green Bay, and much is yet to be done in the NFL Draft. There’s a lot left to be desired at certain spots on the roster, and it’s the job of Gutekunst and the rest of the front office to fire on all cylinders to put this franchise in the best position to win a title in 2021.