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3 Top Defensive NFL Free Agency Targets for Green Bay Packers

In 2019, the Green Bay Packers double dipped in free agency bringing in Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith to solidify what was a week EDGE group the year before.

After a surprisingly successful season in 2023, Brian Gutekunst has plenty of challenges to overcome on the defensive end. Jaire Alexander barely saw the field in 2023, and the story was the same for former 1st round pick Eric Stokes. The safety group was suspect at best, and the Packers need depth at linebacker.

Leaving the offense be for now, let's take a look at 3 top free agent targets for the Packers on the defensive end, if Gutekunst decides to spend some money.

While EDGE is not an immediate concern for the Packers, they could still use depth at the position. Rashan Gary had a disappointing season, from his perspective, after signing a top of the line 4-year, $96 million contract extension before the season. Preston Smith isn't getting any younger, and Lukas Van Ness still has plenty to prove as an ascending edge rusher.

In comes Marcus Davenport.

Davenport was the 14th overall pick in 2018, selected by the New Orleans Saints. In his six year career, he has never played all of the games in one season, which led to a one-year deal with Minnesota last year. After landing on injured reserve, Davenport's value will be much lower than the $13 million he received from the Vikings last season.

Davenport has a nine sack season under his belt, and could provide some much needed depth for the Packers defensive line. In order to help what will be a very new defensive back group, Green Bay needs to start the off-season off right by solidifying their front.

Look now, Packers fans, I am indeed saying there's still a chance. Let's be clear, signing Queen in free agency would be expensive and the main free agent move of the off-season. However, signing Queen could be incredibly impactful for the defense, pairing Queen with Quay Walker for the next three years.

When Queen came out of college, Packers fans fawned over the LSU linebacker. Instead of selecting Queen, Green Bay traded up and took QB, Jordan Love, Utah State. Now Green Bay has a chance to double up on incredible 2020 NFL Draft prospects and solidify the second level of their defense.

After having an All-Pro season in 2022, De'Vondre Campbell was not the same in 2023. Isaiah McDuffie is a good depth piece at linebacker, someone new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley is familiar with, but the Packers need to get faster and more athletic at every position. Queen had a 2nd team All-Pro selection in 2023, and he is just getting started. Having Walker and Queen at the linebacker position would provide Haffley with incredible flexibility in base or nickel defense.

Who says players can only go from Green Bay to New York? With this move, Green Bay would take one of the best safeties in the game away from the Jets. Whitehead only earned a little over $5 million in 2023, and would likely be more expensive for the 2024 season.

Jeff Hafley described his ideal safety, which in his defense is called the "post safety", during his opening press conference:

"I want a guy who can erase things. We need to erase explosive plays, and I need him to play with his hair on fire. I need a guy who can go from sideline to sideline and take the ball away. He needs to be a guy who can communicate and get guys lined up," said Hafley.

Sure sounds a lot like Whitehead who had four interceptions in 2024 and was one of the leading tacklers for the Jets. Pair Whitehead with a top selection at the safety position, and all of the sudden the Packers have way fewer concerns about the back end of their defense in 2024.


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