After a shocking departure from the Indianapolis Colts, three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaq Leonard could now be set to answer some questions for the Green Bay Packers defense.
Shaq Leonard was waived by the Indianapolis Colts yesterday after publicly criticizing coaching decisions to limit his playing time. While that might hurt his status in the eyes of general managers around the NFL, there is no question that the 28-year-old is a proven difference-maker on the field and could be an answer for the Green Bay Packers on the field.
‘The Biggest Surprise Ever’
Upon entering the pros in 2018, the South Carolina State grad was an immediate playmaker for the Colts, racking up 15 sacks, 12 interceptions, and forcing 17 fumbles across his career. He won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and was a first-team All-Pro in 2018, 2020, and 2021.
“It was the biggest surprise ever,” Shaq Leonard said of his release during a Thanksgiving giveaway event with his now-former team. “It was shocking. I asked for a November meeting, guess I got a November meeting. I guess you better be careful what you ask for. They came up to me after team photos … walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, let’s go have that November meeting that you’ve been wanting.’ Then, when I got there, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.”
Shaq Leonard has been slow to return to his previous form following injuries, and the Indianapolis Colts’ decision to release him seemed to be motivated by diminished performance on the field as well as the public comments. But he may soon find a new home with the Green Bay Packers.
Is Shaq Leonard A Good Fit For The Green Bay Packers?
Even though the Green Bay Packers defense is surging after a critical Week 11 win against the Los Angeles Chargers, a startling one-third of the team’s starters are on the injury report as the team heads toward a Thanksgiving matchup with the Detroit Lions.
Though the defense is in better shape than the offense, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell is among the injured players. And the team’s defensive struggles up to this point in the season might open the door for the addition of Shaq Leonard.
With the trade deadline passed, Shaq Leonard will now have to clear waivers before he officially becomes a free agent. He has a remaining $15.7 million in guaranteed base salary for 2023, and his current deal was scheduled to run through 2026. But if the Green Bay Packers believe he can make a significant difference on the field, they may do whatever’s needed to add him to the roster and make a last run at the playoffs.