The Green Bay Packers left the 2023 NFL draft still with some pressing needs, but general manager Brian Gutekunst has helped address at least one of those by bringing in another veteran safety.
Despite drafting Anthony Johnson Jr. out of Iowa State in the seventh round of this year’s draft, the Packers decided that they still needed to add more starting-caliber bodies at the position. NFL insider Aaron Wilson tweeted on Friday, May 12 that the Packers had signed former Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens to a new deal.
Owens was an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Western back in 2018, but was picked up by the Cardinals shortly after. Unfortunately, an injury during OTAs sidelined Owens for the entire 2018 season, and he was eventually brought onto Houston’s practice squad the following year.
After spending his first few seasons with a limited role for the Texans, Owens got the opportunity to be a full-time starter in 2022, starting all 17 games. He finished the year with 125 combined tackles, four pass breakups, and one sack.
The 27-year-old is also married to superstar gymnast Simone Biles. The two were officially wed just prior to the 2023 NFL Draft back in April. For the Packers, they’ll be adding another veteran with playing experience to the locker room, potentially to compete for a starting role.
Does This Shut the Door on Adrian Amos?
A few veterans and former Packers are still waiting for Gutekunst and his staff to bring them back for the 2023 season, but this signing may have just closed the door on a reunion with Adrian Amos.
Amos was brought in on a four-year, $36 million contract back in 2019 after spending his first few NFL seasons with the rival Chicago Bears. The 30-year-old was an extremely reliable starter for the Packers, starting in 66 of 66 possible games over the last four seasons.
Unfortunately, Amos showed signs of age for the first time in 2022. Despite playing in every game last year, he posted a career-low Pro Football Focus grade of 53.4 out of 100, looking a step slower on film.
The Packers were projected to bring Amos back, and Gutekunst left the door open for his potential return when speaking with reporters following the draft. However, with another veteran safety coming into an already crowded position room, it looks like Amos’ time in Green Bay is officially coming to an end.
Owens Isn’t Guaranteed A Starting Spot
Despite having starting experience, Owens will have plenty of competition in the safety room if he wants to earn a role as a full-time starter in Green Bay.
Former first-round pick Darnell Savage will be the biggest competition, as he will be playing for another contract once his fifth-year option is over at the end of the year. However, Savage has struggled playing under defensive coordinator Joe Barry, and was even demoted halfway through the year starting with the team’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Rudy Ford will be Owens’ other main competition. The veteran was initially brought into Green Bay to serve a special teams role, but worked his way into the starting lineup and had a breakout performance against the Dallas Cowboys, coming away with a pair of interceptions against Dak Prescott. Ford is returning to the Packers on a one-year deal with the potential to be a defensive starter once again.
If Owens is able to hang with Savage and Ford, then there’s a good chance that he’ll at least be able to carve out a rotational role with the Packers in 2023.