Last season, the Green Bay Packers were fortunate enough to sign De’Vondre Campbell for a very team friendly one-year contract. The inside linebacker had gotten more offers for more money from other teams. However, he waited for the right team to come along. That team ended up being the Packers, and Campbell had the best season of his career in 2021. In Joe Barry’s system, Campbell had 146 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and five pass deflections. He was also named as a First-Team All-Pro for the first time in his career. With Campbell’s price tag likely going up in 2022, the Packers will be in need of a suitable replacement at inside linebacker. Even if Campbell does stay, Green Bay could use an upgrade over Krys Barnes. Barnes played inside linebacker alongside Campbell in the Packers’ 3-4 defensive scheme. Given the Packers’ 2022 salary cap issues, they would need to either draft a replacement or find another hidden gem on the free agent market. Josey Jewell could be that gem.
Who is Josey Jewell?
Josey Jewell is a free agent inside linebacker who spent the last four seasons with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos drafted Jewell in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Jewell played his college ball at Iowa where he had over 100 tackles in three of his four seasons. In his senior year, Jewell had 132 tackles, 13.5 of which were for loss, and 4.5 sacks.
As a linebacker in the NFL, Josey Jewell has shown that he has the talent to be among the best. In 2020, his third season, he had 113 tackles, two sacks, and four pass deflections. More impressively, he missed just four tackles all year and had a missed tackle percentage of 3.4%. For comparison, Krys Barnes had a missed tackle percentage of 11.0% in 2021.
Why Could Josey Jewell Be So Affordable?
Given his numbers in 2020, Josey Jewell seems like the kind of player who might be outside of the Packers’ price range this offseason. However, Jewell suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week Three of the 2021 season. Of course, he missed the rest of the year. Jewell hits the free agent market with questions regarding whether or not 2020 was just a fluke or if this injury derailed his development. If the price is right, he is a low-rise, high-reward linebacker the Packers should bring in. Even if he does not reach the numbers he put up in 2020, he is still a massive upgrade over Barnes. If Campbell plays elsewhere next season, Jewell would also be a promising and suitable replacement.
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