Heading into the 2022 season, the Green Bay Packers might have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. After years of investing heavily in both cornerback and safety, the team’s efforts seem to be paying off, with Joe Barry’s scheme hitting a groove at the end of the 2021 season.
Jaire Alexander recently signed a massive extension to stay in Green Bay. Rasul Douglas earned a long-term deal as well. Coupled with promising second-year player Eric Stokes, the Packers have the best cornerback unit since the days of Charles Woodson. Meanwhile, the starting safety tandem of Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos can be one of the league’s best.
Green Bay picked up Savage’s fifth-year option, giving the young safety more opportunity to improve his play and earn a long-term deal. But Amos’ future after this season is uncertain. The Packers restructured Amos’ contract before the new league year, but he’ll still be a free agent after this season. Re-signing him should be a priority because he’s one of the most underrated players on the defense.
We should be far past the days of arguing with Chicago Bears fans that Eddie Jackson made Amos’ career in Chicago or that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the superior safety. Since joining the Packers, Amos has proven himself to be one of the most skilled and reliable safeties in the NFL.
Amos doesn’t have the highlight reel that his peers in the league do, making him less of a household name. But he’s the most reliable and consistent safety in the league. After all, there’s a lot more to playing the position than interceptions.
PFF listed Amos as their No. 1-overall safety heading into the 2022 season. He’s their highest-graded safety over the past two years.
“Adrian Amos has become one of the most underrated safeties in the league. While lacking splash plays, he is consistently in the right place at the right time and grades very well in all facets of the game,” PFF’s Sam Monson wrote. “Amos has been the league’s best-graded safety over the past two seasons. Last year, his coverage and run-defense grades came in at 74.0 or better.”
As a totally unbiased Packers fan, I generally enjoy it when PFF’s observations agree with my beliefs. But they aren’t the only ones with praise for Amos. Following the 2021 season, NFL Network analyst Cynthia Frelund credited Amos as the Packers’ most underappreciated player based on her analytical data model.
“Pro Football Focus agrees with that computer-vision intel, counting nine forced incompletions on 42 targets in coverage for a 21.4% rate, the fifth-highest mark in the NFL (min. 25 targets). This helped give him a lofty 91.5 PFF grade in coverage this past season. Add in his 90.1 grade in run defense from 2017, and Amos is one of just six defensive backs to post a 90-plus in PFF’s grading in coverage and against the run since the Penn State product entered the league as a fifth-round pick back in 2015.”
Amos has done all this while playing on a reasonable contract and not missing a game. He’s the kind of player you want to keep around.
Green Bay has been frugal about giving veteran players long-term deals, and Amos will be 30 before the start of the 2023 season. But he has no injury history, and his play is as good as ever. Additionally, there really isn’t any depth behind Amos and Savage at safety. Letting Amos walk without any answers on the roster would be foolish for an ascending defense.
The safety market hasn’t blown up the same way other positions have, and the cap should skyrocket in 2023 following the new broadcast deals. Due to Amos’ restructure, Green Bay is paying him in 2023 regardless. It shouldn’t be hard to come to terms on a two- or three-year deal to keep Amos.
Amos won’t be the only Packer looking for a new deal next season, though. Elgton Jenkins will be due for a payday, and his agents will seek high-end tackle money. The team also will need to make decisions on Robert Tonyan and Allen Lazard, both of whom play vital roles on offense but have yet to earn a long-term deal with the team.
Both Savage and Rashan Gary had their fifth-year options picked up, giving Green Bay a little extra time to work with. Still, both will be itching for extensions sooner rather than later. Will the Packers keep both of their safeties around, or will it turn into an either/or situation?
Amos has more than proven his value to the team since leaving the failing Bears. Will the Packers’ brass, who will have to make tough decisions on who to extend, agree? A lack of a viable replacement on the roster and an increasing cap space should make the decision easier, and keeping Amos for years to come should be a priority.