It’s been reported that this offseason the Green Bay Packers did make a “competitive contract offer” to defensive lineman, Snacks Harrison.
With limited spending power in free agency and a draft that went in an entirely different direction than what everyone expected, both fans and members of the national media are wondering if the Green Bay Packers addressed the holes on this roster well enough to make another Super Bowl push in 2020.
While the receiver position stole the show this offseason, another major need that wasn’t really addressed – outside of the Treyvon Hester signing – was the interior defensive line. We all remember the Packers’ defense being ripped apart by San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, and while that was their worst performance of the season, the Green Bay run defense was a liability for much of the year.
According to ESPN, the Packers gave up 120.1 rushing yards per game in 2019, which ranked 23rd in the NFL, and that was actually better than where they spent much of the season ranked after a few late-season performances gave them a slight boost.
So with no major additions up front and concerns about the depth of the position behind Kenny Clark, it’s fair to wonder if the Green Bay Packers are actually going to be any better when it comes to stopping the run in 2020.
However, while this unit remains relatively unchanged from 2019, it sounds like it’s not because of a lack of effort on GM Brian Gutekunst’s part. According to Ross Uglem of Packer Report, earlier this offseason, the Packers made a “competitive contract offer” to Snacks Harrison, who still remains a free agent.
Harrison is a player who has been at the top of many fan’s wish list this offseason. Over the last four seasons, he has started 62 of 64 games and totaled 9.5 sacks, 17 quarterbacks hits, along with 187 tackles, 25 of which were for a loss. Although his pass-rushing numbers aren’t eye-popping by any means, where Harrison really makes his impact is against the run.
Pro Football Focus (subscription required) uses a metric called run-stop percentage, which measures how often a defensive player makes a tackle that constitutes a loss for the offense, or also known as a run-stop. And for a long time now, Harrison has been one of the best in the game.
From 2014 through 2018, out of all interior defensive linemen who played in at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps, Snacks ranked first in the NFL in each of those years during that span. Although in 2019 he did take a bit of a step back, Harrison still ended up finishing 11th overall by this metric.
Adding Harrison and his run-stuffing ability to Green Bay’s defensive front rotation is the kind of addition that could end up making a big difference this season. And while Green Bay doesn’t have much room in terms of spendable cap space, a one-year deal for Harrison isn’t going to break the bank either, and it’s a move well worth making.
At this point, we don’t know why Harrison didn’t accept the offer or even if the offer is still on the table. But for the sake of the Green Bay Packers’ run defense, let’s hope that he is still open to the idea of coming to Titletown and perhaps Snacks ends up being a late addition to this Packers team.