3 Low-Cost Linebackers the Packers Can Still Target in Free Agency

The Packers need linebacking help but can't afford to break the bank. These free agents are their best options.

Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (52)
Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (52) / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons checks a lot of the same boxes as the last linebacker we looked at.

Drafted as something of a hybrid linebacker-safety, Simmons' coverage skills are elite among linebackers. PFF had him tied for No. 7 in coverage grade among all linebackers who played 200-plus coverage snaps in 2023.

He also held opposing passers to just an 81.9 passer rating when targeted on the season, which is a mark that would have ranked No. 27 (between Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder) among the NFL's qualifying quarterbacks.

But that coverage prowess comes with a real lack of run defense. He also missed a career-high 8 tackles (good for a brutal 13.8% missed tackle rate) and only received a 54.7 run defense grade.

However, when you consider that the Packers still only have one solid safety option in Xavier McKinney, getting safety-level coverage from the linebacker spot could make it a lot less important to pay up for a top-end player to fill that other safety spot.

You'd need to sign another linebacker that can replace Simmons on rushing downs, but with the cheap contracts off-ball linebackers tend to command (Simmons only made $1 million last year), that's easily manageable.

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