The last time there was an expansion draft in the NFL (2002), the Green Bay Packers did not see any of their players taken by the new Houston Texans. When an expansion draft happens, each current NFL team must make five players available to the expansion draft.
The NFL has no definite plans to expand, but it certainly is trending that way. There have been rumors of a possible European division eventually forming for a couple of years now. Due to the inevitability of expansion in the future, Bleacher Report recent published an article of what an expansion franchise would look like in 2023.
This time around, the Packers did not escape with their roster unscathed.
Green Bay Packers Lose Darnell Savage in Mock Expansion Draft
“An expansion team would be happy to scoop up a player like Darnell Savage Jr. to bolster its secondary. While the Green Bay Packers safety hasn’t been the steadiest player since he was drafted in the first round in 2019, he’s just entering the prime of his career.
“Savage’s 2022 performance left a lot to be desired—he scored a poor 47.5 PFF grade—but he’s shown he’s capable of much more, including a 2020 season in which he recorded a career-high four interceptions and earned a commendable 75.3 PFF grade.”
On the surface, the pick makes sense. Savage has struggled over the past two seasons and was even benched at one point last year. However, his production during his first two seasons indicates that he does have what it takes to be a good safety in the NFL.
Would the Green Bay Packers Leave Darnell Savage Unprotected in an Expansion Draft?
While Savage has struggled as of late, it is hard to see the Packers making him available for an expansion team to take, especially if this draft were to happen right now.
The Packers’ safety position is far from sure, and Savage is arguably the best of their group. One would assume that if any safety on their roster were to be left unprotected, it would be Dallin Leavitt.
One would assume, also, that if the Packers believed enough in Savage to pick up his fifth year option, they would also believe in him enough to protect him.
In the event that the hypothetical expansion draft happens in the future, if Savage is still on the roster, it would be because he played well enough that Green Bay deemed him deserving of a second contract. If that were the case, it is unlikely that the Packers would make him available at that point either.
Still, one cannot fault Kay for his selection of Savage. Given his production (or lack there of) over the past two years, it is plausible that the Packers would make him available in order to get out from his fifth-year guaranteed salary. However, if Savage does have such an upside as he enters his prime, it is more plausible that they would hold onto their former first round pick.