Packers: What’s next at outside linebacker following roster cuts?

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 28: Clay Matthews
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 28: Clay Matthews /

With roster cuts complete and Khalil Mack joining the Chicago Bears, what’s next for the Green Bay Packers at outside linebacker?

Many Green Bay Packers fans woke up to the news that Khalil Mack had been traded away, unfortunately it was to the NFC North-rival Chicago Bears.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bears have given up two first-round picks.

The Packers were one of the teams that had interest in trading for Mack, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Even though Green Bay didn’t land him, it’s still a nice change of pace from the Ted Thompson era.

I find it hard to believe that general manager Brian Gutekunst would be willing to part ways with both first-round picks in 2019. Instead I imagine an offer of one first-round pick and possibly two second-round picks could have been considered.

Even if the Packers would have matched the Bears’ offer in draft picks, I still think Oakland would have gone with Chicago’s offer. Over the past decade the Packers have been one of the top organizations in the league, while the Bears have been in the bottom half. If this trend continues, choosing Chicago’s offer will leave the Raiders with much higher picks than if they had taken the Packers’ offer.

Moving forward it will still be a big priority for Green Bay to pursue an outside linebacker. With the final roster cuts complete, there will continue to be a number of free agents for them to choose from to come in and contribute.

Of course none of these available players will be at Mack’s level, but they will have the ability to bring in a solid contributor just as they did in 2017 with Ahmad Brooks.

With the emergence of Reggie Gilbert this preseason, coupled with a healthy Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, the Packers have a solid core at outside linebacker. If anything they will be looking to bring in someone who can step in when needed and add depth at that position.

With this move, the Bears had better hope quarterback Mitch Trubisky turns out to be as good as they think he will be. They gave up a lot of draft capital and if Trubisky doesn’t pan out, they will most likely be spending the foreseeable future in the cellar of the NFC North.

Unfortunately, landing Khalil Mack did not happen as many of us had hoped.

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Sometimes for whatever reason, you just can’t beat another team’s offer, but it almost certainly wasn’t due to lack of effort on the Packers’ part. Playing the Bears just got a little more difficult, but I don’t anticipate this move reshaping the playoff picture in the NFC.