Packers' dreams of landing All-Pro safety crushed by Brian Gutekunst

Green Bay Packers, Brian Gutekunst
Green Bay Packers, Brian Gutekunst / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Upgrading the safety room remains a priority for the Green Bay Packers even after the Xavier McKinney signing. McKinney fills one of the two open starting positions following the departure of Darnell Savage and Jonathan Owens in free agency.

The upcoming draft class isn't deep at safety, made even worse by the disappointing athletic testing from early-round candidates Kamren Kinchens and Tyler Nubin, likely removing both from the Packers' board.

Green Bay has the cap space to dive back into a talented free-agent market at the position, headlined by four-time All-Pro Justin Simmons.

Simmons is still playing at a high level and would be an ideal complement for McKinney. However, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst likely ended any hopes of signing him.

Don't expect Packers to make a move for Justin Simmons

On Monday, Gutekunst met with reporters at the Annual League Meeting, answering questions about the Packers' offseason. The safety situation came up, with Gutekunst asked whether signing another free agent is an option.

"Certainly, I think we'd always prefer to have a younger guy that's gonna have his best football ahead of him," said Gutekunst.

Unfortunately, that doesn't describe Simmons. While he's still an excellent starter, he is entering his age-31 season. Gutekunst noted that while the Packers can afford to make another move, it would have to be a perfect situation.

"You can do whatever you like. It's just there's going to be consequences to that, right? Not only within this year, but in future years," said Gutekunst. "If there becomes a player that fits what we're looking for not only as a player, but financially, we'll consider it. We can do that, but I do think there's ramifications to that."

Spotrac projects Simmons will earn $11.1 million annually on his next contract, which likely rules out the Packers.

Green Bay made McKinney one of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL this offseason and likely wants to avoid making another big-money move at the position, especially with Simmons over 30.

Avoiding the free-agent market comes with its own risks. The Packers still need to find another quality starter, and that's hardly a guarantee in the upcoming draft class. Signing a veteran like Simmons would take away the pressure of drafting for need.

McKinney and Simmons would give the Packers a dream starting combination at safety. However, based on Gutekunst's comments, it doesn't seem particularly likely.

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