Packers Re-Sign Veteran Linebacker

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 24: Eric Wilson #45 of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Getty Eric Wilson

The Green Bay Packers are bringing back another veteran, re-signing veteran linebacker and special teams contributor Eric Wilson to a new contract.

According to his most recent Instagram post, Wilson has agreed to a deal to return to play for the Packers. A fan on X posted a screenshot of Wilson’s announcement.

Wilson has played a key rotational role for the Packers since being signed off of the New Orleans Saints practice squad early in the 2022 season. While he hasn’t started a game for the Packers, Wilson has appeared in 30 games.

The veteran linebacker will most recently be remembered for his crucial fumble recovery on an explosive kickoff return from Keisean Nixon in the NFC divisional round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The recovery allowed the Packers to retain possession after Nixon’s return brought Green Bay deep into 49ers territory.

Eric Wilson’s NFL Career

Wilson may not be a household name, but he has carved out a respectable NFL career from humble beginnings coming out of college.

A former 3-star high school recruit out of Michigan, Wilson committed to Northwestern, but never saw the field. After redshirting his first college season, Wilson transferred to Cincinnati, where he became a star defensive player for the Bearcats.

Wilson earned All-AAC honors in back-to-back seasons with Cincinnati, but went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Minnesota Vikings gave him a chance in training camp, and that turned into a four-year stint with the team.

The 29-year-old linebacker bounced around the league for a few seasons after leaving the Vikings in 2020, eventually landing with the Packers. Now, Wilson will be able to keep calling Green Bay home into the 2024 season.

Green Bay Still Needs Linebackers

Even after bringing back Wilson, the Packers still have a big need at off-ball linebacker.

With Jeff Hafley taking over as defensive coordinator, the Packers will be moving to a 4-3 base defense, adding an extra emphasis on linebackers. Green Bay is currently thin at that position, especially after releasing former All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in order to save cap space.

Now that Campbell has signed a one-year deal with the 49ers, the Packers have just Wilson, Isaiah McDuffie, and former first-round pick Quay Walker as their off-ball linebackers with legitimate playing experience.

Walker will be the biggest linebacker needing to step up for the Packers. As a former first-round pick out of Georgia, the 23-year-old has yet to hit his stride. The change in defensive coordinators could help Walker take the next step in his career, but he’ll need to take on an even larger role for the Packers defense now that Campbell is gone.

The Packers will likely continue to pursue additional depth at linebacker in the 2024 NFL Draft. General manager Brian Gutekunst has already tipped his hand that the team will have some interest at the position, bringing in Texas A&M prospect Edgerrin Cooper for a top-30 visit.

Cooper likely won’t be the only linebacker brought in for a top-30 visit, as Gutekunst will make sure to do his homework on the position.