The Green Bay Packers have a great deal of improvements that need to be made on their roster. Both the offense and the defense underperformed in 2022 after being given top-10 preseason rankings. Indeed, several positions on both sides of the field turned out to be weaknesses for the Packers. On offense, wide receiver and tight end were the most glaring weaknesses. On defense, poor safety play and inconsistency on the defensive line led to season-long frustration. Clearly, Green Bay has many holes to fill. Pro Football Focus, though, has identified one of these as the position the Packers need to improve upon the most: tight end.
The Packers Have a Glaring Hole at Tight End
In an article that identified the single biggest area of need for all 32 teams, PFF writer Sam Monson wrote of the Green Bay Packers:
“A story as old as time itself — Green Bay and the need to add more weaponry for their passing game.
The only wrinkle this offseason is whether that weaponry is for Aaron Rodgers to use or to ensure Jordan Love has the best possible chance for success as the team’s new starter.
The young wideouts showed promise in 2022, but tight end is an area that still needs a major upgrade. Robert Tonyan saw 63 targets this season but averaged just 1.27 yards per route run and moved the chains only 20 times.”
Tonyan, of course, got fans excited for the position in 2020 when he caught 11 touchdowns, tying the franchise record for scores by a tight end. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in 2021 and spent most of 2022 returning to form. It is noteworthy, though, that 81 of Tonyan’s 479 receiving yards this season (17% of his yards) came in the last two weeks of the season.
The Packers Do Not Have the Tight End Talent They Need Under Contract
Both Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis are unrestricted free agents this offseason. There is no guarantee that they will be back or even that Green Bay wants them back. Aaron Rodgers mentioned both as players he would like playing with him if he himself decides to return in 2023. However, there is no indication, one way or another, from the front office in regards to what they want to do as far as re-signing Tonyan and Lewis.
One would assume that the front office may be interested in bringing one or both of them back. Tonyan, as previously mentioned, started to play much better towards the end of the season when his knee was stronger. Lewis is a phenomenal blocker whose value to the team as a leader cannot be understated. Additionally, the only three tight ends the Packers have under contract for 2023 are Josiah Deguara, Austin Allen, and Nick Guggemos.
As Zach Kruse of Packers Wire notes, Deguara is an H-Back and and Allen and Guggemos have not played in a NFL Game. It would be prudent, therefore, for the Packers to address the position in the draft and/or in the free agent market. This could mean bringing back Tonyan and/or Lewis, but it should also mean looking for ways to improve the position using new players.
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