The Green Bay Packers once again went defense in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. After that, though, the team took a bunch of players to help first-year starter Jordan Love. Now that the draft has come and gone, there are still some interesting NFL free agents available that the team should consider. Here are the three potential Packers free agent targets this NFL offseason.
Before the NFL draft, the Packers had needs at wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, pass rush, backup quarterback, and in the secondary. General manager Brian Gutekunst did a solid job bringing in talent at WR, TE, EDGE, S, and CB in this year’s draft.
Now, as the 2023 NFL offseason rolls along, there are a few more tweaks to make on the offensive line and behind Jordan Love. With those as the last remaining holes, the three Packers free agents that they need to target this NFL offseason are Sam Mustipher, Dakota Dozier, and Teddy Bridgewater.
C/G Sam Mustipher
The Packers offensive line in front of Jordan Love is relatively set heading into the 2023 NFL season. Left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Elgton Jenkins, center Josh Myers, Jon Runyan, and right tackle Yosh Nijman will be on the line this season.
As for depth and talent behind them, swing tackle Zach Tom and backup guard Royce Newman will be the sixth and seventh offensive linemen. However, there isn’t much behind that, and the team needs more players to compete for roles, either in the starting five or as key backups.
Chicago Bears center Sam Mustipher was not a fan favorite on the Packers’ division rival. That said, he is a quality backup center who can give you some snaps of even a game or two in a pinch.
Also, Mustipher has worked at guard in the past, so he can back up multiple spots on the line, which is what the Packers’ free agent needs are right now. This is a low-risk move that will pay off if one of the interior members of the Packers O-line goes down this season.
G/T Dakota Dozier
Green Bay has no depth at center and little depth at guard, which is why Sam Mustipher makes sense as a Packers’ free-agent target. The team is a little better off at tackle with Zach Tom and Luke Tenuta, but that’s still not great.
The Packers should double-dip on former Bears offensive linemen, and also go after Dakota Dozier, one of the few decent backup tackles left on the NFL free-agent market after the 2023 NFL Draft.
Dozier isn’t starting quality, but he does have good flexibility, like Mustipher, and can play inside or out. And this will come in handy if Tom has to go into the starting lineup for David Bakhtiari.
Bakhtiari is an All-Pro tackle, and he’s still only 31 years old. That is right in the prime of his career as far as offensive linemen go. However, the 2013 fourth-round pick has played just 24 games in the last three seasons as he’s struggled with knee injuries.
Hopefully, Bakhtiari will restart his career healthy and effective in 2023. The problem is, especially with a new starting quarterback, the Packers simply can’t bank on that. They need contingency plans, and signing Dakota Dozier off the NFL free-agent market is a solid one.
QB Teddy Bridgewater
Speaking of contingency plans, the Packers need one at quarterback as well.
Fifteen years ago, the franchise went through the exact same thing that is happening now. They drafted a QB in the first round three years prior and then traded their longtime starter to the New York Jets.
While history repeated itself up to this point, it is hard to imagine that the young signal-caller in question will again turn into an iron man and a future Hall of Famer.
Teams have replaced one superstar QB with another several times (Joe Montana to Steve Young, Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck), but it’s never happened three times in a row.
That is the situation that Green Bay is in heading into the 2023 season, and right now, the Packers’ primary backup is Penn State rookie and 2023 NFL Draft fifth-round pick Sean Clifford. If Jordan Love misses time for any reason, that’s not a formula for winning games.
At this point, all NFL fans know who Teddy Bridgewater is. He is a quarterback that isn’t talented or injury-proof enough to be a starting QB, but he is a guy who can come in and win a game or two over the course of a season.
With nearly the entire defense made up of first-round picks and a weak NFC and NFC North, the Packers should have playoff aspirations this season. That means a Packers’ free agent target like Bridgewater is essential to keeping those alive if Love misses time.
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