Up until these last five days with the Aaron Rodgers news and the NFL Draft, it’s been a very quiet offseason for the Green Bay Packers. Any signings that they did make — minus the addition of Joe Fortunato — were players who were on the 2020 roster. It’s clear that with limited cap space, Brian Gutekunst and Co. thought the best course of action was running it back for the 2021 season and hopefully making one more Super Bowl push.
At the moment, Over the Cap projects that the Packers have about $2.61 million in available cap space–and of course, there are other expenses unaccounted for, such as the draft class, practice squad, and any in-season spending. Meaning that there will have to be a corresponding move or two to free up cap space, something Gutekunst alluded to them working on recently.
On top of that, Green Bay has only two roster spots available, and as I recently wrote, at least one of them is going towards the quarterback position.
But that doesn’t mean they are done adding to this roster. After the draft, Gutey told reporters that the Packers were looking to address the inside linebacker position early on in the draft; however, the board didn’t give them that opportunity. And he also mentioned that they would look to make a veteran addition.
So if the Green Bay Packers are in fact in the market for a linebacker, who is still available? I take a look at three of the better options who still remain unsigned.
KJ Wright has been one of the constants in the Seattle Seahawks’ defense for about a decade now, flying a bit under the radar playing next to Bobby Wagner. From 2014 to 2019, Wright tallied at least 100 tackles each season–except for 2018 when he appeared in only five games. He’s also been extremely durable, starting all but one game from 2014 to 2017, and starting all 32 games the last two seasons.
In 2020 specifically, Wright was moved to the strong-side linebacker role with the addition of Jordyn Brooks, and this is a move that allowed him to continue finding success at this stage of his career. He would finish with 86 tackles and 11 tackles for loss–the second-most of his career, along with two fumble recoveries.
In coverage, Wright was targeted 81 times and held opponents to only 8.2 yards per catch, and came away with an interception. He was also PFF’s eighth highest-graded linebacker last season. And I know grades aren’t everything, but that is noteworthy.
At 32-years-old, Wright is likely just a stop-gap to help bolster the position and provide stability while Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes continue to develop. But as we saw in 2020, he can still bring it and would be a boost for this Green Bay Packers’ defense–although it’s worth noting that Wright could very well be out of the Packers’ price range.