The Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst haven’t brought in a lot of new faces this offseason, but they’ve had to say goodbye to a handful of former starters who have signed deals with new teams.
On the same day the Packers announced that they had re-signed veteran linebacker Eric Wilson, the team also learned that they were losing another player at the same position. Darren Urban with the Arizona Cardinals team website reported on Saturday, March 25 that the team had signed former Packers linebacker Krys Barnes to a one-year deal.
Barnes was an undrafted free agent out of UCLA who had spent his entire NFL career in Green Bay after being picked up back in 2020. Despite being a UDFA, Barnes had established himself as a full-time starter in 2020 and 2021 before losing the starting role to first-round pick Quay Walker last season.
At just 24 years old, Barnes still has plenty of football left, and he’ll have an opportunity to compete for a starting role with the Cardinals in 2023.
Other Veterans Leaving Green Bay
Barnes isn’t the only former starter that the Packers have lost this offseason, leaving Gutekunst with plenty of holes to fill over the next few months.
Wide receiver Allen Lazard was arguably the team’s biggest loss in free agency. The former top wideout for Green Bay signed a four-year, $44 million deal that will likely reunite him with Aaron Rodgers in New York. Lazard even admitted that a pending Rodgers trade was a big reason why he wanted to play for the Jets.
Meanwhile, a pair of long-time starters signed deals with NFC North rivals. Tight end Robert Tonyan signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears to give Justin Fields another weapon. Meanwhile, defensive end Dean Lowry joined Green Bay’s other big rival in the Minnesota Vikings.
It hasn’t all been bad news for the Packers, however. All-Pro kickoff return man Keisean Nixon signed a one-year deal to return to Green Bay. Despite replacing Amari Rodgers on return duties halfway through the season, Nixon was so impressive that he led the entire NFL in kickoff return yardage in 2022. His special teams contributions and depth at cornerback were a huge reason why he’s coming back to the Packers.
However, until an Aaron Rodgers trade gets done, there won’t be much more movement on the free agent front for the Packers.
Latest on Aaron Rodgers
Speaking of a potential Rodgers trade, there has been very little movement on that front recently. Still, the NFL world is reacting to anything and everything that comes out about the pending blockbuster move.
Rodgers made it clear during his appearance on The Pat McAfee Show at the start of free agency that he intends to play for the New York Jets in 2023. However, Rodgers also revealed that the Packers are dragging their feet in an effort to maximize their compensation on a potential trade.
Since then, news surrounding a Rodgers trade has slowed down significantly. ESPN’s Adam Schefter most recently reported that the two teams are at a standoff as talks have stalled slowly heading towards the 2023 NFL Draft.
A trade may not be happening right away, but by the time Week 1 rolls around, Rodgers should almost certainly be playing for the Jets.