Green Bay Packers: Impact of potential Josh Jones trade

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Jones #27 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a sack during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Jones #27 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a sack during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Josh Jones has requested a trade and if the Green Bay Packers do decide to move on, there will be an impact on a few defensive positions.

The Green Bay Packers selected Josh Jones in the second round of the 2017 draft, but his career over his first two seasons hasn’t panned out how he or the Packers would have hoped.

It was in week three of his rookie season when Jones would make his first career start and would burst on to the scene. Against the Cincinnati Bengals that week, Jones would make 11 solo tackles, including three for a loss, along with two sacks and an additional two quarterback hits.

Unfortunately for Jones and the Green Bay Packers, those moments have been few and far between since.

Last season, Jones was relegated to a backup role as he would sit behind Haha Clinton-Dix and Kentrell Brice early on, and even when Clinton-Dix was traded, instead of Jones being named a starter, Tramon Williams was moved over from cornerback to safety. It wasn’t until an injury to Brice that Jones would see more playing time.

It is well-known that Jones struggles in coverage amongst other areas and he clearly doesn’t have the trust of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Given these issues through the first two seasons of his career, it was reported by Rob Demovsky of ESPN that Jones “believes it would be best for both parties if they parted ways.”

Given Jones production or lack thereof over the last two years, it may be easy for some to blow this news off and say “just get rid of him” but if the Green Bay Packers do end up moving on from Jones, there will be a trickle-down effect to two other defensive positions that will negatively impact the team.

ILB is a big question mark

The Green Bay Packers have done a lot this offseason to sure-up a number of positions, but the inside linebacker remains perhaps the biggest question mark on this team heading into the 2019 season.

Outside of the uber-reliable Blake Martinez, the next three players on the depth chart are unknowns.

Oren Burks had an early-season injury in 2018 that forced him to miss the first two games of the season and he would never get back on track. Over his 14 games, Burks would make 24 total tackles and play in just 11.47 percent of defensive snaps over the season.

That lack of playing time over the course of the season is quite concerning given the Green Bay Packers were out of playoff contention in the month of December and Burks was still on the sidelines. Burks clearly didn’t have the confidence of Pettine as when he was on the field, he struggled with his coverage assignments and was slow to diagnose plays.

The other two options are seventh-round pick Ty Summers and 2018 special teams standout James Crawford, who hasn’t shown that he’s ready to be a rotational player at inside linebacker.

With the additions of Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos at safety, it would have allowed Jones to play closer to the line of scrimmage in a hybrid role which will better suit his skill set and would have given Pettine another rotational player at a position where depth is a real concern.

Depth at safety now in question

The safety position was a revolving door last season and one that the Green Bay Packers have struggled to find consistency with in recent seasons.

To remedy this problem, General Manager Brian Gutekunst went and signed free agent Adrian Amos and drafted Darnell Savage in the first round. While Jones wasn’t going to be relied on nearly as much at safety, he would give Pettine a versatile defender who is familiar with the defense.

Now, with the potential that Jones will no longer be in Green Bay this season, the depth at safety is in question. After Amos and Savage, the Packers have Raven Greene, who had shown some flashes last season before ending up on IR but is still an undrafted rookie and we don’t know if he can be relied upon at this point.

Green Bay also has recent signee Mike Tyson and converted cornerback Natrell Jamerson as options, but both will be fighting just to make the 53-man roster and at best in 2019, they may just end up being special teams players.

Without Jones, the Green Bay Packers will likely have to venture into free agency, unless they decide to move Tramon Williams back to safety but it would appear that their plan is to keep him at cornerback.

One option still on the open market is Ibraheim Campbell who was impressive over his three games last season in Green Bay. He had displayed some versatility by lining up in the box and made 18 tackles, including 15 solo over that span and signing him isn’t going to break the bank by any means.

Next. Where could Josh Jones be traded to?. dark

If the Green Bay Packers do oblige Josh Jones and send him on his way, they are going to have to bring in another inside linebacker and safety from the free agency pool to compete in Training Camp and hopefully provide some reliable depth, because as of now, both are in question.