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1 free agent the Packers still need to sign to improve their 2021 roster

The Green Bay Packers have encountered quite the odd offseason, thanks to the team’s ongoing rift with future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are not even a season removed from a trip to the NFC Championship Game and will no doubt sport a competitive — and then some — roster in 2021-22 with or without Rodgers, which should make Green Bay one of the more talked about teams from a positive standpoint this offseason.

However, because of where the team stands with Rodgers, Green Bay’s entire offseason has been an absolute nightmare to this point. Of course, if Rodgers does suit up for the heralded Packers in 2021-22, all will once again be well in Green Bay as the NFC North franchise will immediately return to the top of the heap over the arch-rival Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions.

With that being said, though, the Packers need to play it safe this time around and should be planning to take the field without Rodgers in 2021-22. As a result, the Packers need to look to add to the team’s depth along the offensive front before it’s too late as second-year quarterback Jordan Love, who didn’t even suit up as a rookie last season, could be under center in Week 1.

Unfortunately for the Packers, longtime center Corey Linsley signed a five-year, $62.5 million free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Chargers earlier in the offseason. Regardless of who is under center for the Packers in 2021-22, this is still a massive loss in a variety of different contexts. However, one must give credit where credit is due as the Packers wasted no time in (somewhat) filling this void en route to selecting former Ohio State Buckeyes center Josh Myers in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. While Myers has the size and experience to become an impactful player for the Packers early on, is the 6’5,” 300-pounder really the best option at a critical position for a team likely to be sporting an inexperienced quarterback?

The answer is no, which is why the Packers should add some additional depth as insurance with former San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, and Dallas Cowboys interior offensive lineman Joe Looney still available on the open market.

Joe Looney 

Spending the last five seasons as a member of the Cowboys, the soon-to-be 31-year-old Looney stands at 6’3″ while weighing 315 pounds and brings a level of toughness and experience to the table that few can match. Making 103 career appearances atop the highest level alongside 41 starts, Looney is as versatile as they come as he has the ability to play both guard and center while having served as both a reserve player and starter throughout his career.

A former fourth-round pick by the 49ers back in 2012 out of Wake Forest, the veteran blocker most recently served as the starting center for the Cowboys in 2020-21 as former Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick was forced to retire. Unfortunately, Looney suffered a sprained MCL in Week 4 before being placed on injured reserve and eventually returning in late October. He would appear in 13 regular season games for the Cowboys while making 12 starts in what would become his final go-round in Dallas.

As it stands today, the aforementioned Myers would start at center for the Packers with Lucas Patrick currently slated to slot in as the team’s starting right guard and primary back-up center. If the Packers managed to bring a player like Looney on board, that would ensure that the team covers all of its bases as an NFL franchise — especially one who could be starting a de-facto rookie quarterback — can never have too much depth up front.

If Looney serves as the team’s starting center, this can allow Myers to take his time getting acclimated to the NFL threshold. Looney could then move out of such a role with Myers eventually stepping in as the former would have no issues serving as the team’s primary back-up interior offensive line. In that case, the Packers would have options if Myers struggles, Patrick gets hurt or Looney thrives. There is literally no situation that such an addition wouldn’t cover as the Packers need to begin thinking about life after and without Rodgers.

Whether it is this offseason or the next, it appears as though Rodgers’ time with the NFC North franchise is rapidly coming to an end despite another MVP season in 2020-21. As a result, Green Bay must be realistic and will need to give Love time to develop and more than enough protection as he does so.