Now that the regular season is almost over, we can safely see the holes in the Green Bay Packers roster that need to be patched. Thankfully, it's less than we initially thought at the beginning of the year, with several young players stepping up.
According to Spotrac, Green Bay will have just over $10 million to spend in 2024. If the Packers decided to move some of their larger contracts, it would widely open up their options. Some notable names in that group would be David Bakhtiari, Preston Smith, and De'Vondre Campbell.
This free agency pool certainly doesn't have the biggest names as we've seen in the past, but it could have just what Green Bay needs.
Packers should target these 5 free agents in 2024
1. Ezra Cleveland, OL
With offensive tackles Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom playing at high levels, the Packers can focus on the interior of the offensive line. Their first target should be guard Ezra Cleveland. He's currently listed on the Jaguars depth chart as the starting left guard but also has experience on the right side.
At just 25 years old, he still has time to develop and become a long-term member of an already young group. It's an ideal area to fix in free agency because guard is the third-lowest-paid position on average for offense, behind tight end and running back, per Spotrac.
With Jon Runyan and Sean Rhyan playing less-than-ideal football at right guard, the Packers will undoubtedly be looking for an upgrade. Cleveland might be their guy.
2. Xavier McKinney, S
With Darnell Savage set to become a free agent, there could be a glaring hole at safety next season. McKinney would certainly be an upgrade to what Green Bay currently has.
In coverage, McKinney has been one of the best safeties in the league. According to Pro Football Reference, in pass coverage, he has given up an 87.6 passer rating compared to Savage's 105.1. He's a better tackler, too, missing just 6.8% of tackles.
At just 24 years old, he still has lots of time to improve. Pro Football Focus projects him to get a contract worth $8.25 million a year.
3. Oren Burks, LB
Yes, the Packers should look to reunite with their former third-round pick. Since joining the 49ers, Burks has started to shine. He shouldn't be too expensive, as he would be a third option behind Quay Walker and De'Vondre Campbell.
Per Pro Football Reference, Burks has been targeted 20 times in coverage, giving up 14 completions for 95 yards and zero touchdowns. In 2021, during his final year with the Packers, he missed 7.7% of tackles. He has brought that number down to 2.5% this year.
With Campbell's future uncertain, Green Bay must look for a solid backup at inside linebacker.
4. Tyler Biadasz, C
A center could be the last missing piece to a Packers offensive line looking to protect their new young quarterback. Biadasz could be that piece.
One of his best attributes is he's consistently healthy. In 2021 and 2022, Biadasz played over 1,000 snaps and is on pace for the same in 2023. Pro Football Focus has him graded at 67.7 compared to current starter Josh Myers at 54.7.
He's certainly not the best center option in all of free agency, but once again, he's affordable, as PFF projects him to earn $7 million a year.
5. Michael Pittman Jr., WR
The Packers' wide receiver room has proved to be much better than most predicted at the beginning of the season, but there is still room for improvement.
Pittman is arguably having his best season this year, setting career-highs in receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,108). This signing would mean the Packers have a bonafide WR1, giving younger players like Jayden Reed and Christian Watson more time to develop and alleviating pressure off them.
If Green Bay were interested in a player of his caliber, they'd have to find ways to move money around, as Spotrac projects Pittman to make around $22.7 million a year.