Green Bay Packers: Quick Look at 2022 Unrestricted Free Agents & Early Predictions

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers walks to the field for warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers walks to the field for warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers 2021 free agent class was loaded. So much so, in fact, that even during the 2020 offseason, the future of those players dominated the conversation and continued to do so through the regular season.

The 2022 free agent class doesn’t have the same overall star power as this year’s group did — although there is one big name — and whether or not many of them will be back will hinge on their performances this season.

With the Green Bay Packers pushing over $30 million in cap charges from 2021 to 2022, next offseason is going to be similar to this one, even with the salary cap increase–there won’t be a lot to spend, and tough decisions will have to be made.

We’ve seen the Green Bay Packers try to “run it back” by re-signing many of their 2020 free agents. However, if the team fails to reach the Super Bowl this season, there could be some big changes to come.

Below I take a quick look at each of the Packers unrestricted free agents in 2022 and give my way too early predictions on whether or not they will be back.

Davante Adams

This is the final year of Davante Adams’ deal, and many of us are waiting for an extension to take place. Adams has developed into one of, if not the best receiver in the game, and giving him a new contract is a must. It may not be easy squeezing his new deal under the 2022 cap, but as the Packers often do, they can backload it with much larger cap hits in 2023 and beyond when the salary cap is really going to jump with the new TV deal.

Not to mention that when — or if — the Packers move on from Aaron Rodgers for Jordan Love in the coming years, having a player of Adams’ ability at receiver will help with that transition. If Green Bay made a deal with Aaron Jones work, then there is no reason they can’t do the same with Adams.

Verdict: Re-signed

Kevin King

I think all of us are surprised that King is back this season; however, that doesn’t mean that the Green Bay Packers shouldn’t upgrade the cornerback position–they absolutely need to. I suppose there’s the possibility that King puts together a good season — similarly to 2019 — but ultimately, he is a placeholder for the rookie, or hopefully rookies, that they bring in.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Robert Tonyan

On the surface, re-signing Tonyan seems like a no-brainer, but I’m not so sure. Green Bay has already invested third-round picks into Josiah Deguara and Jace Sternberger, and as I already mentioned, they are not going to have a ton of cap space. If Sternberger takes a big step forward and becomes a reliable target, between that and Green Bay’s cap situation, then I believe Tonyan walks. If not, well, then they have a much more difficult decision on their hands.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Devin Funchess

Depending on how the draft and training camp goes, I’m not even sure Funchess makes the 53-man roster in 2021, let alone 2022. By the time Week 1 rolls around, between a season-ending injury in 2019 and opting out of 2020, it’ll have been about three years since Funchess played in a regular-season football game.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Chandon Sullivan

The boundary cornerback position has drawn most of the attention — and understandably so — but it wouldn’t hurt to give Chandon Sullivan some competition inside as well. To sum up Sullivan’s 2020 season, it was okay, I suppose. Given the current status of the cornerback room, the Green Bay Packers need Sullivan, but I’m going to put my faith in them that they figure it out this offseason or at least have some pieces in place and complete the puzzle in 2022. Like King, Sullivan seems to be a placeholder.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Josh Jackson

Jackson isn’t even a lock to make this year’s team. At this point, we know who he is as a player.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Lucas Patrick

Extending Lucas Patrick a few seasons ago has turned into a very good move. He was a solid starter on the best offensive line in football last season and can play both guard and center. While the Green Bay Packers invested three 2020 draft picks on the IOL, Stepaniak and Hanson are unknowns, and there’s also no such thing as too much offensive line depth–although I do believe he could still be a starter.

Verdict: Re-signed

Tyler Lancaster

Lancaster does the dirty work as primarily a run defender and has been okay as a rotational player in this defense. My hope is that Kingsley Keke takes another step forward in Year 3 and that the Packers can add a new player or two to the mix, so they don’t have to rely on Lancaster as much.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Will Redmond

Redmond has been a very good special teams player for Green Bay but has struggled on defense. While his special teams ability is valuable — and that’s why he was re-signed this year — ultimately, he heads elsewhere next offseason–especially if Vernon Scott or Henry Black become reliable options on defense.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

KeiVarae Russell

Another special teams contributor, but we hopefully see an infusion of talent at the cornerback position that makes it so that the Green Bay Packers don’t have to rely on him to play defensive snaps in 2021–I’m not so sure that that currently isn’t the case. Russell isn’t even a lock to make this year’s team out of camp.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Oren Burks

As a former third-round pick, Burks is primarily a special teams player for Green Bay. Again, that can be valuable, but you need way more out of a third-round pick than that. Bolstering the linebacker depth should be on Brian Gutekunst’s to-do list in this year’s draft.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

You never know what you are going to get from Valdes-Scantling, but he brings an important downfield element to this offense that no one else does, and while it’s easy to remember the miscues, there has been far more good than bad from MVS. He was excellent in the NFC Championship Game, and that could propel him to a new level in 2021.

Verdict: Re-signed

JK Scott

Based on what we’ve seen so far, the answer is no. Scott has been way too inconsistent.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Joe Fortunato

I mean, who knows? Fortunato was brought in to compete at long-snapper with Hunter Bradley but hasn’t played in a real game in several years. With that being the case, my guess is that Bradley wins the job this year, and Fortunato doesn’t make the final roster. But again, who knows?

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

Hunter Bradley

So if my prediction is that Bradley is the Green Bay Packers’ long-snapper in 2021, will he be in 2022? Maybe? I’ll take a shot in the dark and say that he has a much better 2021 season.

Verdict: Re-signed

Equanimeous St. Brown

This is a big year for St. Brown. We know he has the talent and skill-set to be successful, but we just haven’t seen it as he has had a hard time seeing the field. It’s going to be even more difficult to get playing time if Funchess makes the 53-man roster. With Adams and Valdes-Scantling back along with Allen Lazard and hopefully a receiver or two in this year’s draft, St. Brown is likely in his final season.

Verdict: Signs elsewhere

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Jaire Alexander

I’ll include Alexander on this list as it is the final year of his rookie deal; however, as a former first-round pick, he has a fifth-year option. There is no question that the Green Bay Packers will pick that up this offseason and will have a contract extension completed before the 2022 season ends.

Verdict: Packers pick up fifth-year option