The Green Bay Packers will look vastly different in 2023 with Aaron Rodgers gone, and even some of the lesser-known players from the last few seasons like wideout Juwann Winfree have found new homes this offseason.
Per the league’s transaction wire, Winfree has signed on with the Indianapolis Colts as of Tuesday, May 9. NFL insider Aaron Wilson tweeted the news, also noting that the Colts waived defensive end Guy Thomas to clear a roster spot for the former Packers wideout.
Winfree was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. After just one season with the team that drafted him, he was signed onto the Green Bay practice squad and appeared in 12 games from 2020 through 2022 while record 9 receptions for 75 yards.
Although he didn’t get much of an opportunity to see the field with the Packers, Winfree will now have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster for Indianapolis.
Other Departing Packers Players
Due to the team’s limited cap space, the Packers haven’t been able to retain key veterans from the past few seasons. Some players not returning may have been intentional, but others are simply due to the team’s limited financial situation.
Several former Packers have decided to reunite with Rodgers by signing deals with the New York Jets. Allen Lazard was the first to move to New York, signing a four-year, $44 million deal weeks before a Rodgers trade was even finalized.
Once the trade was official, former Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner was brought in for a workout then signed a deal shortly after. Longtime Packers receiver Randall Cobb has also signed a one-year deal with reunite with his longtime friend in the Big Apple.
One veteran who won’t be reuniting with Rodgers is Marcedes Lewis, who is rumored to be uninterested in the Jets due to state taxes. Unfortunately, the Packers aren’t interested in a reunion with the 38-year-old tight end after drafting Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft.
Other departing Packers veterans include Robert Tonyan and Dean Lowry, who have left for NFC North rivals in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings respectively. With so many familiar faces gone in Green Bay, there will be signifiant opportunities for younger players to prove themselves in 2023.
Christian Watson Is Now “The Guy” In Green Bay
With so many wide receivers leaving for new teams, it’s now Christian Watson’s time to shine despite playing just one NFL season.
Watson was a second-round pick out of North Dakota State in the 2022 NFL Draft, turning heads with his impressive size/speed combination. At 6’4″ and 208 pounds, Watson posted a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.36 seconds, and that speed translated to the NFL level.
The young wideout struggled early on, but had a breakout stretch in the second half of his rookie season. He finished the year with catching 41 passes for 611 yards and seven touchdowns, adding another two scores on rushing attempts.
Now, despite entering his second season, Watson will be the No. 1 wideout in Green Bay. If he can continue generating big plays in Year 2, it should open up things for other receivers like Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed in 2023.