The Green Bay Packers just showed they can win in all manner of ways, but the heavily-injured roster remains incomplete in a couple of spots.
One of those spots is in the secondary, particularly at slot cornerback. Bleacher Report’s NFL Staff amassed a list of team needs and personnel suggestions on Monday, September 25. The top advice for the Packers was to sign free agent and former Chicago Bears DB Bryce Callahan to patch up the position.
Keisean Nixon is an excellent special teamer, but Green Bay has been relying on him to cover the slot at the beginning stages of the season and he has struggled. According to Pro Football Reference, Nixon was targeted nine times in the team’s first two games and allowed eight completions for 62 yards and a touchdown while earning a subpar grade from Pro Football Focus.
Callahan could come in and take command of the position and would be an upgrade over Nixon. The former Charger is coming off a campaign where he had nine combined interceptions and passes defended while yielding a 64.8 completion percentage.
Bryce Callahan’s Skill Set, Market Value Fits with Packers this Season
Callahan entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Rice in 2015. He caught on with Chicago, where he appeared in 45 games over the next four seasons and earned 29 starts. Callahan played the following two years with the Denver Broncos before landing with the Los Angeles Chargers for the 2022 campaign.
The cornerback will soon turn 32 years old but was durable last season, despite his age, playing in 15 games and starting 11 of them. He should also be relatively inexpensive after playing in L.A. on a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. Callahan signed a three-year contract for $21 million with Denver in March 2019.
Green Bay currently has $9.55 million in available salary cap space, per Over The Cap. The Packers rank 12th in total passing yards surrendered as of Monday at just under 200 yards per game, with three teams ahead of them yet to play their Week 3 contests (Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
The Packers are also getting to opposing quarterbacks at a solid rate, with 9 sacks as a team thus far. Extra pressure makes for quicker, and often worse, decisions from opposing offenses. Slot receivers often serve as escape valves from QB pressure. As such, upgrading to a player like Callahan makes considerable sense for a Green Bay defense that has been above average to start the season.
Rashan Gary Leading Packers Defense After Injury in 2022
Outside linebacker Rashan Gary is leading the charge for Green Bay in the pressure department. He amassed 3 sacks in the Packers’ comeback win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and has produced 7 pressures, 5 QB hits and 3.5 sacks through three games this season.
Gary is playing for a potentially massive contract extension this year after tearing his ACL in 2022 against the Detroit Lions. He will get his first crack at the NFC North Division rival when the teams meet at Lambeau Field for a primetime Thursday Night Football showdown on September 28.