The Green Bay Packers are dealing with some serious injuries on the defensive side of the ball. While the injuries that various players have sustained have not been season-ending, they have caused players to miss multiple games. For instance, the Packers found themselves playing a good portion of their loss against the Las Vegas Raiders without both of their starting linebackers, De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker.
Campbell has been out since the beginning of the Green Bay’s game against the Week Three win against the New Orleans Saints. He suffered a high ankle sprain on the opening defensive drive of the game and has not been back since. Today, head coach Matt LaFleur said that Campbell will be doubtful for the team’s Week Seven matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Walker suffered a knee injury in the loss to the Raiders and missed a good portion of that game. While he did return to practice this week, it is the second injury Walker has suffered this season that knocked him out of a game (he sustained a concussion in Week One when he returned a Justin Fields interception for a touchdown).
While Eric Wilson and Isaiah McDuffie have played well in relief, it is clear that the depth at linebacker is suspect. For this reason, one NFL analyst believes that the team should sign free agent linebacker Anthony Barr.
Green Bay Packers Encouraged to Sign Free Agent Linebacker Anthony Barr
Barr, of course, is remembered by Packers fans for infamously breaking Aaron Rodgers‘ collar bone while sacking him back in 2017. After making four Pro Bowls in eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Barr played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022.
He has not been signed by any NFL team, but is still wanting to play in 2023. Given the concern over the health of the Packers’ linebackers, Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report says that Green Bay should look into signing Barr:
“Anthony Barr is probably the best linebacker still looking for a home this season. The 31-year-old played in 14 games for the Cowboys last season, making 10 starts and racking up 58 total tackles to go with two fumble recoveries, two tackles for loss and a sack.
“The Packers should be familiar with his game from his eight years with the Vikings. He could be the team’s third linebacker and even offer some heat as a situational blitzer.”
As a third linebacker, Barr makes sense. Last season, his 65.1 pass rush grade from PFF was his highest-graded attribute. Dallas only played Barr on 45 pass rushing snaps and he responded with eight total pressures and a sack. Most of his snaps (299 of them) came on run defense plays.
Unfortunately, Barr may not be the boost in the run defense that the Packers might hope for. His 59.4 run defense grade from PFF in 2022 would be worse than every other Packers’ linebacker except Isaiah McDuffie.
That being said, it is clear that injuries to the linebacker position are going to be a concern. As far as depth goes, the Packers could do a lot worse than the former Pro Bowler.
The Packers could also use a player with an edge who is not afraid to get in the face of his opponents. Barr could be that guy and bring out a toughness in the defense that has been lacking.