With the season slipping away, the Green Bay Packers are on the verge of making some dramatic moves, and general manager Brian Gutekunst is quickly cutting ties with players who aren’t in the team’s long-term plans.
The Packers made some intriguing moves in their secondary heading into their Week 12 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Along with listing their newly-acquired safety Johnathan Abram on the inactive list, former first-round safety Darnell Savage was benched in favor of Rudy Ford in the team’s starting lineup.
After being listed as inactive on Sunday Night Football, Abram’s short time in Green Bay came to an end on Tuesday, November 29. Tom Pelissero with NFL Network reported that the Packers had waived Abram just a few weeks after bringing him in.
Green Bay’s safety position could look drastically different in 2023, with the coaching staff and front office wanting to see what newer players like Ford are capable of doing for the remainder of the season before making any decisions this offseason.
Who Will Play Safety for the Packers in 2023?
Abram had very little impact on the Packers in his three short weeks with the team. However, the Packers need to figure out what they have at the safety position before 2023.
The Packers will have some difficult decisions to make at safety this offseason. Former first-round pick Darnell Savage is currently the only main safety expected to return after his fifth-year option was picked up prior to the start of the 2022 season.
Meanwhile, established veteran Adrian Amos will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. The Packers opted to restructure Amos’ deal rather than offer him an extension this past offseason. With his declining play in 2022, it’s unlikely that the Packers will offer the 29-year-old significant money to return.
Even emerging safety Rudy Ford isn’t sure what his future holds. The veteran safety signed a one-year deal with the Packers and expected to primarily play a role on special teams this season. However, given his emergence as a solid playmaker in the secondary, Ford could secure a long-term deal with the Packers or another team next offseason.
If Amos and Ford don’t come back, then the Packers will have to look for a bargain option in free agency or a rookie in the 2023 NFL Draft to play alongside Savage next season.
Will Joe Barry Be Green Bay’s Defensive Coordinator in 2023?
After allowing 363 rushing yards to the Eagles in Week 12, defensive coordinator Joe Barry is firmly on the hot seat in Green Bay.
Head coach Matt LaFleur defended Barry after the poor defensive performance, stating that he wouldn’t make a change unless he felt that it was warranted. That being said, a change would still be made after the season considering how disappointing the talented defensive unit has performed this season.
One name that Packers fans will be keeping an eye out for is Jim Leonhard. The interim Wisconsin head coach was a contender to take over for the Badgers, but lost the job to former Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell.
The Packers were reportedly interested in Leonhard during their last defensive coordinator search, and if the Wisconsin coach doesn’t want to take a demotion under Fickell, Green Bay could take another run at the Badgers legend.