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Green Bay Packers Day One NFL Free Agency Recap

In one of the most exciting days for Green Bay Packers fans since 2019. Brian Gutekunst made a flurry of moves for the Packers today. The legal tampering period for teams opened at 12PM ET, so naturally deals started rolling in at 12:01PM ET. Technology is amazing, isn't it?

The Packers started off with a bang, bringing in former Raiders running back Josh Jacobs on a 4 year, $48 million deal. The immediate reaction from Packers fans was: WE HAVE AARON JONES AND JOSH JACOBS?

Well, you did for roughly an hour. Almost immediately after bringing in the 2022 NFL leading rusher, the Packers announced that they had released RB Aaron Jones, seven year veteran and Packers captain. GM Brian Gutekunst called the move "one of the hardest decisions we've had to make in my time with the Packers."

Full statement from Gutekunst here:

Jones totaled over 5,000 rushing yards in his time as a Packer, adding 63 total touchdowns and some of the most historic Packers playoff performances we have seen in recent years. Jones was instrumental in leading the Packers through the Rodgers to Love, and he defined "Carrying the G' as a leader at Lambeau Field.

Josh Jacobs lead the NFL in rushing in 2022, and over the last three seasons leads the NFL in missed tackles forced with 194. While Jacobs had a down year in 2023, he is only 26 years old and will fit right into the young offense led by Jordan Love. Although Jacobs will technically be the oldest skill position player on the offense, this will be a young offense that could absolutely use a veteran running back or quarterback behind the young rising stars.

Once Packers fans started grieving the loss of Jones, Gutekunst dropped another bomb by signing Xavier McKinney to a 4-year deal worth over $65 million. McKinney played 100% of the defensive snaps for the New York Giants in 2020 and was the top safety on the market. After bringing in one top 10 free agent in Josh Jacobs, Green Bay added another in McKinney, giving new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley his newest weapon.

In 2023, McKinney played 592 snaps, was targeted 53 times in coverage, and allowed zero touchdowns. McKinney caused a tight-window throw on over 30% of the passes he was targeted on, and will fit perfectly into the ball-hawk safety role Hafley uses in the middle of his defense.

While the additions are amazing, Green Bay lost some key pieces on Monday as well. Darnell Savage signed a 3-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Jon Runyan Jr received a 3-year deal from the New York Giants. The Packers also plan to release former All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari after years of incredible play on Rodgers blindside.

Gutekunst's full statement on Bakhtiari:

In smaller moves, the Packers have retained the services of Tyler Davis, TE, and All-Pro kick returner Keisean Nixon. With depth being an issue for the Packers at times in 2023, retaining veterans with experience will be paramount for their success in 2024.

The Green Bay Packers still have plenty of holes to fill. Gutekunst released De'Vondre Campbell, and doesn't plan on bringing AJ Dillon back. Whether it's through free agency or the draft, the Packers wishlist still includes some combination of:

-Flex Tackle

-Backup RB

-2 safeties

-1/2 CB's

-Right Guard

-H-Back type player

-A kicker

With a wealth of draft picks, Brian Gutekunst is not done being aggressive this off-season. Not only do the Packers like to double up on positions during the draft, but Gutekunst identifies a positional need and uses as many resources as needed to fix that issue. With a division to win and a Super Bowl run to make in 2024, expect plenty of more moves to happen between now and training camp.

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