The Green Bay Packers have spent the majority of free agency by focusing on retaining key special teams contributors, and now special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is keeping another of his favorite veterans for the 2023 season.
This offseason, the Packers have made special teams their top priority. Along with bringing back safety Rudy Ford on a one-year deal, the Packers have also retained the likes of special teams ace and veteran linebacker Eric Wilson while bringing in another veteran fourth-down contributor in Tarvarius Moore.
The Packers haven’t slowed down with the special teams moves, despite very few other moves being made. Mike Garafolo from NFL Network tweeted on Tuesday, April 4 that the Packers were bringing back veteran safety Dallin Leavitt.
Prior to playing in Green Bay, Leavitt had spent his entire career with the Raiders after being picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Having played his entire NFL career with Bisaccia, Leavitt will have another opportunity to secure a special teams role for his longtime coach in 2023.
Will The Packers Still Draft a Safety?
Despite the position still being a long-term need for the Packers, the numbers of moves the team has made at safety has made it unclear if the team will prioritize the defensive backfield in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Along with bringing back Ford, Leavitt, and signing Moore, the Packers also have the likes of Vernon Scott, Tariq Carpenter, and Innis Gaines currently under contract for 2023. That’s also ignoring former first-round pick Darnell Savage, who moved into more of a hybrid/slot role during the back end of last season.
That being said, all of the signings at safety have been on short-term deals. Meanwhile, Savage is on the final year of his rookie contract, and after a disappointing few seasons under defensive coordinator Joe Barry, the team could decide not to re-sign the 25-year-old. In fact, Savage has even previously been mentioned as a potential piece in an Aaron Rodgers trade to help the team shed his fully-guaranteed fifth-year option for 2022.
While the Packers have plenty of bodies at safety under contract for 2023, the team could still consider taking a swing at a safety early in the draft. The team currently lacks an impact player at the position, and finding a young player to develop for three or four seasons could be exactly what the defense needs.
Latest on Aaron Rodgers
While the Packers are hyper-focused on making special teams transactions this offseason, fans are still anxiously waiting for a resolution to the Aaron Rodgers trade drama.
Despite Rodgers stating publicly that he wants to play for the New York Jets in 2023, the Packers have still yet to finalize a trade. Rodgers mentioned during his announcement that he believes the Packers are dragging their feet in order to maximize compensation in a pending move.
Gutekunst provided some additional context to the ongoing negotiations during NFL owner meetings in Phoenix. The Packers GM mentioned while speaking with reporters that a trade doesn’t have to involve a first-round pick to get finalized, and that he’s hopeful a deal would happen sooner rather than later.
Peter King with NBC Sports provided a likely deadline for a trade, citing April 28, or the second day of the NFL draft, as the last possible date that a trade could happen for the Packers to still get a valuable asset in this year’s draft. However, until a deal is finalized, no one can say for certain how close the two sides are to ending the Rodgers era in Green Bay.