The Green Bay Packers are retaining former Johnson C. Smith and Fort Valley State running back Emanuel Wilson on their roster. The Packers held Wilson's exclusive free agent rights, meaning he could not negotiate with any other teams. They returned him and punter Daniel Whelan under those rights, per NBC Sports' Josh Alper. Despite the inability to negotiate with others, the HBCU product received a nice payday: he signed a one-year, $915,000 contract, according to Spotrac, a sports contract monitoring website.

Out of college, Emanuel Wilson originally signed with the Denver Broncos during training camp. He eventually landed on Green Bay's roster, backing up second-string running back AJ Dillon and Pro Bowler Aaron Jones. Wilson didn't get a ton of playing time during the season, but he still produced when given the opportunity. In his best game his rookie season, Wilson took four carries for 43 yards, including a 31-yard burst, in the Packers' 20-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Wilson spoke to reporters before the Packers' final game of the season against the Chicago Bears, a game that held important playoff implications for Green Bay. Reporters asked Wilson about his lack of opportunities after an injury to Jones.

“He just told me to stay ready, so that's the main thing,” he said. “It was tough, it was hard just because that was my opportunity to go out there and show that I can play. I mean, when that situation happened, it was just hard for me. I cried that day. The next day I was fine just because I know I'll get another opportunity… It'll feel great because my family gets to watch me play now. They've been waiting for it.”

The Fort Valley State graduate received a heavier workload in the playoffs following an injury to Dillon. Wilson had eight carries against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card game, which he turned into 20 yards. In the Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers, he got recorded four carries for 16 yards. He also caught a pass out of the backfield for 11 yards. One of Wilson's runs in that game turned into a highlight as he hurdled over a 49er defender.

Prior to Wilson's highlight hurdle in the NFL Playoffs, he was a two-year running back for Fort Valley State University. In his 16 games, Wilson ran for 2,086 yards and 22 touchdowns. His final year in 2022 was especially impressive as he rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 15 times. He also became a more dynamic threat as a receiver in 2022, catching 20 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Before transferring to Fort Valley State, Wilson originally enrolled as a Johnson C. Smith Golden Bull. In his sole season in 2019, he rushed 159 times for 1,040 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 86 yards.