The Green Bay Packers' newly-acquired wide receiver Devin Funchess is the latest addition to the long list of players who have already opted out in playing on the upcoming season. The 26-year old chose to prioritize health and safety concerns over playing football amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Packers' general manager Brian Gutekunst shared to ESPN Wisconsin's Jason Wilde as posted by Packers insider Ryan Wood on Twitter:
Gutekunst asked by @jasonjwilde if Devin Funchess' decision to opt out makes him more urgent to add WR help, suggests it's business as usual: "I wouldn't say we're any more active than we ever have been looking for help at any position."
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) August 2, 2020
Before finding his way to Green Bay, Funchess was a Carolina Panther first. He was drafted by the team with the 41st overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. When the Panther's primary receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in training camp, Funchess helped fill his spot and emerged as a consistent target for 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Funchess finished the regular season with 31 catches for 473 yards, recording the fifth most in franchise history for a rookie receiver. His five touchdown catches were also second-most for a rookie. He was a member of the 2015 Carolina Panther team that went to the Super Bowl 50 but ultimately fell to the Denver Broncos, 24-10.
He stayed with the Panthers for four seasons before coming to Indianapolis to become a Colt. His short stint with the team was uneventful as he was placed on injured reserve with a broken collarbone on September 10, 2019. He was not activated by the end of the three-week practice window on December 4, 2019, and remained on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
On April 2, 2020, Funchess signed with the Green Bay Packers for a one-year, $1.2 million base salary with $1 million in signing bonuses.
With Funchess' confirmed absence, the Packers' offense will be expected to be much limited. The wideout room is now headlined by three-time Pro Bowler Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, and Equanimeous St. Brown among others.
In the upcoming season, two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers will look to make the most out of the weapons available at his disposal. With him starting under center, the Packers will aim to defend their NFC North division crown and most importantly, earn another trip to the Super Bowl stage.
The 2020 season will begin for the Packers as they visit division rival Minnesota Vikings on September 13 at the U.S. Bank Stadium.