The Green Bay Packers’ safety room has been in a state of flux for well over a decade. Since the moment Nick Collins sustained a career-ending neck injury in 2011, the void he’s left behind couldn’t be overstated.
They haven’t sat on their hands in the meantime. The Packers spent a first-round pick on Ha Ha Clinton Dix in 2014, but despite some flashy moments, he drastically underperformed relative to where he was drafted.
The following spring, they’d double-dip at defensive back in the first and second rounds, bringing aboard Damarious Randall — an ex-safety at Arizona State — and Quinten Rollins. Both players were projected as cornerbacks at the next level, but neither panned out. In 2019, they spent another first-round pick on a safety: Darnell Savage.
To this day, Savage has endured the transition from Mike Pettine to Joe Barry as defensive coordinator and remained a consistent starter on defense.
However, it’d be naive to suggest that Savage has been on anything other than a steady decline the past two seasons.
The only real band-aid was Adrian Amos, who excelled in Green Bay after signing a lucrative free-agent deal one month before the drafting of Savage. He signed with the New York Jets for this season after the expiration of his contract. The Packers will have some important decisions to make at safety next spring.
Savage and Rudy Ford — their two starting safeties — are projected to enter unrestricted free agency, as are Dallin Leavitt — a valuable component on special teams — and Jonathan Owens.
Owens was one of three fresh faces the Packers brought aboard during the off-season to help fortify the room, along with Tarvarius Moore and Anthony Johnson Jr.
In an effort to add some stability to a position group that can only be described as arguably the weakest on the roster, the Packers should pursue a trade for Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn. If there is indeed an opportunity to acquire Chinn, the Packers would be wise to pounce.
He’s in a contract year and, like a handful of the safeties on the Packers’ roster, will also be a free agent in March.
However, negotiating a long-term deal with the 25-year-old would be a much more ideal avenue; he’d immediately become the best safety on the team’s roster.
The Packers had the chance to draft Chinn in 2020, but they opted for AJ Dillon at No. 62 overall instead. Chinn flew off the board two picks later. Dillon, the former Boston College tailback, has carried the load in the Packers’ running game this season while Aaron Jones has been recovering from a hamstring injury.
Chinn’s implementation into the Packers’ defense could be a rejuvenating maneuver; his 6’3″, 220-pound frame allows him to wear a multitude of hats and fill any role.
Through the years, Chinn has played as a free safety, an inside linebacker and even as a nickelback. He’s rumored to be on the trading block.
According to Breer, has fallen out of favor in defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s scheme. It’s an unforeseen development after Chinn was perceived within the building as a “superhero” upon Evero’s arrival. “We see him as a superhero,” Panthers linebackers coach Peter Hansen told ESPN on May 31.
“We just don’t know which cape he’ll wear from day to day.”