With the 2023 NFL Draft now officially behind us, we are closing in on the start of rookie camps across the league. The Green Bay Packers are set to begin a new era after trading star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Committing to Jordan Love as their starting quarterback of the future, the franchise agreed to terms with the former first-round pick on a one-year contract extension.
Stockpiling talent around the young signal caller, the team added three new pass catchers in tight ends, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft, and receiver Jayden Reed. However, with several starting caliber players left on the market, here are five remaining NFL free agents who can help the team in 2023.
No. 5 Remaining NFL Free Agent: John Johnson (Safety)
A former third-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams, Josh Johnson spent three seasons with the team. Choosing to sign with the Cleveland Browns in 2021, the Boston College product never became the top-tier safety the franchise imagined him to be. However, the 27-year-old remained a serviceable starter for Kevin Stefankis’s group over two seasons. Appearing in 32 games, the Hyattsville, Md. native recorded 162 tackles, four interceptions, three forced three fumbles, and one sack.
He also allowed just a 55.1 percent completion rate and an 82.8 passer rating in coverage in 2022. Maintaining the ability to play both deep center field while also dropping down into the slot to match up against opposing pass catchers, Johnson would provide a much-needed veteran presence to a thin safety room in Green Bay.
No. 4 Remaining NFL Free Agent: Shelby Harris (Defensive End)
Acquired from the Denver Broncos as part of the Russell Wilson trade last season, Shelby Harris had a solid campaign in his lone year with the Seattle Seahawks. The 31-year-old started 16 games while posting 44 tackles, 30 quarterback pressures and four pass deflections. Furthermore, he also flashed while defending the run, leading to a grade of 73.2 from Pro Football Focus.
Set to turn 32 at the beginning of August, this NFL free agent would provide much-needed depth in the middle of Joe Barry’s defense. Without Jarran Reed after he returned to Seattle in free agency, the Packers have only seven players along the interior under contract. Moreover, only three have played a game, and only two have started a game.
No. 3 Remaining NFL Free Agent: Justin Houston (Outside Linebacker)
Still wildly productive at 33 in his 12th season in the NFL a year ago, Justin Houston appeared in 14 games for the Baltimore Ravens. The four-time pro bowler recorded 25 quarterback pressures, 17 quarterback hits and 9.5 sacks. Unable to get to the quarterback after losing star pass rusher Rashan Gary to a torn ACL against the Detroit Lions in week 9, the Packer’s lack of depth on the edge became a glaring problem.
The team managed just five sacks over its final three games while finishing 12th in pass rush win rate. While the trio of Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare and Lukas Van Ness give them a formidable punch to begin the 2023 campaign, signing the NFL free agent Houston could provide the team with some juice in a pass rush specialist role.
No. 2 Remaining NFL Free Agent: Cameron Brate (Tight End)
Released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a salary-shedding move, Cameron Brate became the odd man out in the tight end room last season after the team drafted both Cade Otton and Ko Kieft. Still one of the most productive players in franchise history, the 31-year-old ranks 11th in receptions (273) and third in touchdowns catches (33).
Without Robert Tonyan after the veteran departed for the Chicago Bears as an NFL free agent, Marcedes Lewis remains likely to follow Rodgers to the New York Jets. Musgrave, Kraft, and Tyler Davis are the only true tight ends on the Packers roster. Brate would provide Love with a veteran presence and a big body over the middle as a late NFL free agent signing.
No. 1 Remaining NFL Free Agent: Isaiah Wynn (Tackle)
Formerly a four-star recruit, Isaiah Wynn started 41 games for the Georgia Bulldogs at both the guard and tackle spots. Ultimately selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the 27-year-old battled both Achilles and knee injuries during his four seasons with the team. Choosing to let the one-time First Team All-SEC member walk in free agency, the St. Petersburg, Florida native, would provide Green Bay with much-needed depth in the offensive line room.
Set to enter next season with both David Bakhtiari and Yosuah Nijman manning both tackle spots; the former has failed to stay on the field consistently while battling nagging knee injuries. Meanwhile, the latter is playing on a one-year deal after Green Bay placed a second-round tender on him.
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