Should the Packers add a veteran cornerback in free agency?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers enter the 2021 offseason with very little room to make free agent signings, and they have one glaring need at cornerback.

With Kevin King almost certainly playing elsewhere next season, and Josh Jackson showing no signs of being the answer, the Packers will have to find someone to play across the field from emerging superstar Jaire Alexander.

All signs point towards the draft. Historically speaking, the Packers much prefer getting their cornerbacks out of the draft rather than picking up an older free agent.

The 2021 NFL Draft isn’t exactly oozing with CB depth, but there’s still enough talent for GM Brian Gutekunst to find a long-term answer at the position. Jaycee Horn and Asante Samuel Jr. are two impressive young CBs who could be available towards the back end of the first round for the Packers.

However, even the addition of a rookie first-rounder won’t totally fix the Packers’ seemingly eternal issues at the CB position. So what else can they do?

Why the Packers SHOULD sign a veteran CB

The Packers don’t have a single veteran presence in the cornerback room in 2021. As it stands, they don’t have a CB over the age of 24 on next season’s roster.

Players such as Richard Sherman or Xavier Rhodes are likely to be available free agents and they are both viable options for the Packers, carrying 10 years and eight years of NFL experience respectively.

These guys may be on the downward slope of their careers, but I wouldn’t count them out just yet. Sherman is just one year removed from having one of his best seasons since he entered the league meanwhile Rhodes is fresh off a career-revitalizing season in Indianapolis.

Either of these guys would serve as a nice bridge player, offering a smooth transition to a rookie CB until they are fully up to speed.

Maybe the Packers don’t want to draft a rookie cornerback, similarly to wide receiver last offseason. This roster has plenty of other needs and for an organisation that has forever been about drafting the “best player available”, signing a free agent prevents them from being hamstrung into taking a CB in the draft.

Why the Packers SHOULDN’T sign a veteran CB

Assuming the Packers do indeed draft a CB, while a veteran certainly helps, they are not essential to the growth of a young rookie. You can definitely get by without one.

The only issue is it might start out a little rough, for example, this past season the Vikings trotted out third-round rookie Cameron Dantzler as their CB1 in the opening game of his career. He was given a trial by fire, being tasked with covering Davante Adams. He got destroyed… as you would expect, but since then he’s taken that experience, improved his game and developed into a solid starter in the Vikings secondary.

Another example is our very own Jaire Alexander, who came straight in and started immediately, with only second-year player Kevin King ahead of him. Jaire fared well at the beginning of his career and hasn’t looked back since. But of course, not every cornerback is going to be Jaire Alexander.

It goes without saying that the salary cap plays a huge role in whether or not the Packers will pursue a free agent. It’s going to take restructuring contracts, extending some guys, and letting go of a few more, potentially Preston Smith and Dean Lowry if the Packers want to get below this year’s lowered cap.

In turn these guys you’re cutting will need to be replaced with rookies anyway so what progress have you really made here? You’re simply just changing your draft needs at this stage.


Brian Gutekunst and the Packers will undoubtedly explore the idea of bringing in a veteran to help steady the ship in the secondary. But there remains no doubt that a long-term solution for Kevin King’s replacement must be resolved.

As for the here-and-now, someone who can immediately contribute at the position makes sense. I think signing Richard Sherman would add another true leader and voice to the defense. He is a mentor in every sense of the imagination.

If you want solid play at a value price, Xavier Rhodes may be the best person to call, but you still run the risk of him returning to his 2019 Vikings form, when the “Rhodes” were not closed, they were very much open.

The other remaining options include: AJ Bouye, Josh Norman, Jason McCourty, and former Packer Bashaud Breeland.

Next. 3 affordable free agents for Packers to target. dark