The Green Bay Packers needed to address their lack of depth on the edge this offseason, and general manager Brian Gutekunst was able to do so by bringing back a promising veteran on a one-year deal.
It’s unlikely that star pass rusher Rashan Gary will be ready for the start of the 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 9 against the Detroit Lions. That left the Packers with limited options outside of veteran Preston Smith and ascending rookie Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare.
However, the Packers are bringing back a player who showed flashes last season. NFL insider Ari Meirov with The 33rd Team tweeted that the Packers re-signed Justin Hollins to a one-year deal worth just $1.2 million.
With Green Bay’s limited cap space and Hollins taking a meeting with the New York Giants during free agency, it appeared that the 27-year-old pass rusher would be gone. Instead, Hollins will be staying in Green Bay with a chance to prove himself, especially earlier in the season while Gary is recovering from his injury.
Who is Justin Hollins?
He may not have been the most popular name on Green Bay’s defense last year, but Hollins carved out a role and had some solid production in limited action.
Hollins was an intriguing prospect coming out of Oregon. He finished his final year with the Ducks by earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors after racking up 14.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles as a redshirt senior.
That production helped Hollins go in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, getting scooped up by the Denver Broncos. He was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams a year later, playing for Sean McVay for two and a half seasons and getting a Super Bowl ring in the process.
The Packers ended up picking Hollins up off waivers after he was released by the Rams back in November. While he only played in six games for Green Bay, he was able to rack up 2.5 sacks, eight total pressures, and zero missed tackles according to Pro Football Reference.
While Hollins will likely be a backup behind Smith and Enagbare, the 27-year-old’s ability to get after the quarterback will help him see plenty of action early in 2023.
Latest on Aaron Rodgers
While the Packers are busy bringing back veterans on affordable deals, fans are anxiously waiting on a resolution regarding an Aaron Rodgers trade to the New York Jets.
Rodgers revealed on The Pat McAfee Show at the start of free agency that he plans to play for the Jets in 2023. However, Rodgers also shared that he felt like the Packers were dragging their feet on a trade in an attempt to maximize their compensation from New York.
That appears to be the case, with free agency well underway and a trade still not going through. Fans of both teams could be waiting until the 2023 NFL Draft, or possibly later, for a trade to finally happen.
However, there is hope that a trade could be coming soon. The Jets traded former second-round wide receiver Elijah Moore to the Browns on Wednesday, March 22. While Moore was a potential Packers trade target, the move gave the Jets another second-round pick that could be used to finally get a trade for Rodgers finalized.
Packers and Jets fans could be waiting a big longer for a trade to get done, but all signs are still pointing towards Rodgers playing in New York.