Five Green Bay Packers Who Won't Be Back in 2023
The Green Bay Packers limped to a disappointing season in 2022. They finished 8-9 and missed the postseason, while reigning NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers had the worst season of his career. Things need to change in Green Bay, and it appears this offseason will be one in which massive moves are made.
As of now, the Packers are roughly $17.5 million over the 2023 salary cap of $224.8 million. There are several opportunities to free up money that the team is almost certain to explore. David Bakhtiari ($28.8 million), Kenny Clark ($24 million), Jaire Alexander ($20.2 million) and Preston Smith ($13 million) could all rework their deals to lower their cap hits, while a contract extension for Rashan Gary could wind up lowering his number of $10.9 million.
The key question this offseason will be what to do about Rodgers. After that, a number of starters are hitting free agency and their fates need to be addressed. What follows is our guess at five players who won't be back with the Packers in 2023.
This is obviously the headline-grabber, and the smart money is on Rodgers retiring or being traded elsewhere. The four-time MVP has expressed his displeasure with the Packers organization repeatedly for a few years now and coming off the worst season of his career, things need to change. Green Bay needs to turn things over to Jordan Love to see if he possesses the talent the franchise believed he did when it made him a first-round pick in 2020.
Trading Rodgers won't save the Packers any money in the short-term, as the franchise would take on $8.7 million more in cap penalties by moving him (about $40 million total cap hit), but Green Bay would receive assets in return. Presumably those would be cheap assets, in the form of draft picks. That means the roster could be filled out with low-salary rookies instead of free agents. In the end it could wind up saving the Packers money by trading Rodgers. It would also jumpstart a rebuild around Love.
Lazard had a career year in 2022, setting new personal bests in receptions (60) and yards (788) as he stepped into the top receiver role for the Packers. Unfortunately, he wasn't good enough to get No. 1 receiver money as he heads into free agency. If a rebuild is, indeed, coming the Packers aren't going to throw a ton of money at a 27-year-old who looks like a mid-tier No. 2 receive and whose efficiency dropped off a cliff with increased usage. Especially not with the emergence of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
The simple fact is that Lazard is expendable now, and the Packers should probably spend an early-round pick on another receiver for Love. The Packers own the 15th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and that is a spot they could begin targeting a receiver. Anywhere between there and their second-rounder would be a great spot to pick up a pass-catcher.
Cobb is on the Packers solely because of Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers is gone there is no reason for Green Bay to bring back a 32-year-old receiver who is past his prime. He finished the 2022 season with 34 receptions for 417 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. The former Pro Bowler's production is easily replaceable and he's hitting free agency.
Cobb could still find a job as a depth option elsewhere in the league, but there is zero justification for the Packers to bring him back. Don't be surprised if he turns up wherever Rodgers lands. The veteran quarterback loves having Cobb around.
Unfortunately for Jarran Reed, he's hitting free agency at the wrong time. The 30-year-old has been a solid defensive lineman for years, but he struggled in 2022 and is on a team facing a cap crunch. That's not a good recipe for getting a new contract. Pro Football Focus graded Reed at 61.9 this season and he finished with 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He's easily replaceable.
At this point in his career, Reed is a solid depth/rotational option along the line, but isn't worth a multiyear free agent contract. The 2023 draft is deep with defensive line options and the Packers should turn their gaze there to find a replacement.
Amos is another guy hitting free agency at the wrong time. The 29-year-old safety was not good in 2022 despite setting a career-high in tackles (102). PFF gave him a dismal grade of 53.4. That's not the kind of performance that gets you a multiyear deal with a raise. The Packers can do better at the back of their secondary.
The 2022 season marked the end the four-year, $36 million deal Amos signed in 2019. There is little reason to believe he'll be back. He'll likely land somewhere on a short-term, prove-it deal where he has a chance to start or be a rotational option.