One of the biggest areas of concern for the 2023 Green Bay Packers will be the safety position. With Adrian Amos hitting free agency, his return to Green Bay is up in the air. Darnell Savage is under contract for the 2023 season, however, his inconsistent play has plagued the Packers’ defense at times. Rudy Ford, another pending free agent, could be another candidate for the Packers to bring back. However, it was announced at the NFL combine today that a 27-year-old starting safety will be released by his current team.
John Johnson III Set To Be Released By Cleveland Browns
Browns Executive Vice President and General Manager Andrew Berry said Tuesday at the scouting combine that the Browns will part ways with S John Johnson III.
“I will start by saying John, the first thought probably is just gratitude in terms of what he has done the past two years on the field and in the locker room for us,” Berry said at the podium. “We, after just looking at the roster and thinking about where we want to be in 2023, thought it would be the best move for the organization to really part ways. That certainly doesn’t minimize what John was able to do while he was with our team.”
Johnson, a six-year veteran who spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, started all 17 games for the Browns last season, totaling 101 tackles with one interception, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He played 32 games for the Browns and recorded four total interceptions in his Browns career.
What makes John Johnson III especially intriguing for the Green Bay Packers? He played his best football over four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams between 2017 and 2020. Not only was Matt LaFleur in Los Angeles with Johnson in 2017, but Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry was on the defensive coaching staff of the Rams during all four of those seasons. There is very clear connection between Green Bay’s current coaching staff and the 27-year-old safety. Even if the Packers do retain Adrian Amos, this type of signing would be huge for the Packers secondary.
Johnson III, who turns 28 years old in December, could be a quality player in Barry’s split-safety system in Green Bay. The Packers certainly need help at the position, where Adrian Amos and Rudy Ford are free agents and Darnell Savage could be headed to slot cornerback in an effort to revive his career.
In four of the last five years, Johnson played at least 900 snaps. His availability has been incredible during his time in the NFL. When with the Rams, Johnson was excellent in coverage and considered an above-average run defender. According to Pro Football Focus, he broke up 22 passes, intercepted eight more and produced 88 stops while playing in the box, at free safety and even some in the slot.
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