Packers Preparing for Eric Stokes Split With Latest Decision

The Packers declined the fifth-year option on former first-round pick cornerback Eric Stokes.
Green Bay Packers v Washington Commanders
Green Bay Packers v Washington Commanders / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Eric Stokes era in Green Bay hasn’t completely gone to plan as the former first-round pick has struggled to live up to his draft status. Stokes had a good rookie season in 2021 but hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the last two seasons.

With that in mind, Green Bay made an unsurprising decision on Stokes’ future, which didn’t shock Packers fans. 

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Thursday that the Packers are declining Stokes’ fifth-year option. Garafolo adds that the former first-round pick is slated for free agency next spring and could make a case for a big payday if he stays healthy.

The biggest issue with Stokes’ career has been his health as he’s only played in 12 games over the last two seasons. The 25-year-old cornerback played three games last season because of a hamstring injury that placed him on injured reserve.

In those three games, Stokes played 59 percent of defensive and four percent of special teams snaps. Last season, the Packers said Stokes and Jaire Alexander were hindered by injuries, so they had to lean on Carrington Valentine, Corey Ballentine, and Keisean Nixon. 

Many Packers fans thought that the team would address the cornerback spot in the first round, but they didn’t look at the position until the seventh round (Kalen King). 

Therefore, Green Bay has some hope Stokes can have a healthy 2024 season and look like the cornerback that they drafted in 2021. During that season, he had a 49.5 completion percentage allowed on targets, a 71.3 pass rating allowed when targeted, and gave up three touchdowns.

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