Packers would be foolish not to pursue bargain free agent with Jeff Hafley connection

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers / Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin /

The Green Bay Packers are committing to a change in defensive philosophy by hiring Jeff Hafley.

Under Hafley, the Packers will switch to a 4-3 when in base defense, and they are expected to feature more press-man and single-high coverages. It places a greater emphasis on the safety position, which Hafley explained in greater detail.

"I want a guy who can erase things. We've got to eliminate explosive plays when we play this defense. If a run hits up the middle, this guy has got to come out of the middle of the field with his hair on fire and has got to be able to get a guy down," said Hafley.

He also said his safeties need to have "high ball production" and force turnovers.

Using a combination of free agency and the draft, the Packers must find safeties who fit Hafley's scheme.

Packers should reunite Jordan Fuller with Jeff Hafley in free agency

One player who makes a lot of sense is free agent Jordan Fuller. The former sixth-round pick became a key starter in the Los Angeles Rams' defense. Fuller makes game-changing plays—he intercepted three passes and forced three fumbles in 2023.

We already know Fuller would work well in the Packers' new scheme. He worked with Hafley at Ohio State, and Fuller is a fan. Speaking to The Athletic's Matt Schneidman, Fuller spoke highly of Hafley.

"I think his superpower is his mind and how he sees the game and how he understands the game," said Fuller. "His in-game adjustments and him having us ready for certain looks that offenses would give us and stuff like that, it really felt like he gave us a winning edge."

The Packers should make Fuller one of their top free-agency targets. Pro Football Focus projects that he will sign a two-year deal worth an average of $4.63 million annually. That works.

Green Bay would be getting a talented safety who has made 46 starts in his first four seasons in the NFL. Reuniting Fuller with Hafley should be an easy choice.

Pair the 25-year-old with a rookie, and the Packers can transform the safety position as they have at wide receiver and tight end in the past two years. Fuller would be a home-run signing in free agency.

More Packers news and analysis