The Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl window starts now

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The Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl window starts now

Even with a young star QB, you’d be shocked how quickly these windows close.

When expectations are sitting firmly at zero, the Packers will still find a new way to leave you wanting more. 

The Packers lost to the 49ers in the NFC divisional playoff game. They should have been preparing for an entirely winnable NFC Championship Game. But like the team we have come to know all season long, they shot themselves in the foot one too many times. 

Green Bay probably beats the 49ers 8 times out of 10 if you were to replay that game yesterday. Which is crazy for a team who entered as 9-point road underdogs. They were better in every facet of the game, even special teams got the better of the 49ers despite missing a heartbreaking 41-yard field goal. 

But alas, the Packers enter the 2024 offseason with the youngest roster in the league, more draft stock and fewer expiring free agents than any other playoff team, and now crucially they have 2 games of pivotal playoff experience under their belt.  

The Baby Packers now know what it’s like to win and lose in the playoffs. Any former NFL player will tell you how crucial that experience is. Losing in the playoffs is one of the final pieces of the Super Bowl window puzzle. Brian Gutekunst enters this offseason already a year ahead of schedule, maybe two.

What more do the Packers need to firmly establish their status as a contender?

Extend Jordan Love

The first port of call will be extending Jordan Love with a top-5 level contract. I think the Packers are making a pretty big mistake if they don’t get a deal done this offseason. But I’m pretty confident they will. 

With QB1 secured, you don’t really have much to worry about for finding guys to catch his passes. The Packers hit a home run with this rookie class and probably won’t need to draft a wide receiver or tight end for several years. That’s a massive help. 

Draft your RB2 / future RB1

Aaron Jones seems to have eliminated all doubt that he’ll be back next season. He’s coming off the best 5-game stretch of his entire career. The Packers adore his veteran leader qualities. But with A.J. Dillon hitting free agency, I wouldn’t be shocked if Green Bay draft the long-term replacement at RB this offseason. This has 3rd or 4th round pick written all over it. 

Find Love’s cornerstone left tackle, but this can wait

Zach Tom is a cornerstone tackle for the future. He enjoyed an excellent sophomore season. Rasheed Walker’s future may not be as transparent, but between him and a returning David Bakhtiari (yes the Packers seriously believe he’s coming back) it might be enough to delay drafting a top offensive tackle for another year. 

The consensus for young star QBs is to draft their franchise left tackle early, but the Packers are supremely confident at finding quality linemen in the later rounds. That route wouldn’t shock me either. 

You need some DBs, like 3 DBs

Priority number 1 (one) (uno) starred*, underlined, highlighted, in all capital letters. Find. Some. Defensive. Backs. 

This can partially be done in free agency. Quality safeties like Xavier McKinney, Kyle Dugger, Kamren Curl, Geno Stone, DeShon Elliott and dare I say Antoine Winfield Jr. are just a sample of expiring contracts. Expect some of them to be available at pretty affordable prices too. 

Cornerback is also a pretty big priority. The health (and quality) of Eric Stokes is pretty uncertain. Jaire Alexander is elite but has been undeniably injury prone and Carrington Valentine was a great find but he’s realistically a CB4 if you actually plan on contending. 

The secondary likely remains Green Bay’s biggest weakness on paper next season. There’s only so much you can do in one season, but plenty of teams have won a Super Bowl with a relatively weak secondary, especially when your offense looks as high octane as this one. 

You need to stay healthy

This one is out of Green Bay’s control. They were ravaged by injuries all season long but finally got healthy towards the tail end of the year. Losing an All-Pro left tackle who occupies 16% of your cap is never a recipe for success. 

What concerns me is that the Packers now have their fair share of players with significant injury history. You’d be asking an awful lot from the football gods for Bakhtiari, Alexander, Christian Watson, Aaron Jones and Eric Stokes to all remain healthy next season. It’s unfortunate, but that’s life. Next man up. Speaking of which. 

The Packers have the depth for a Super Bowl run

Bolstered by an outstanding rookie class, Green Bay has depth all over the field for years to come. Karl Brooks and Colby Wooden are quality rotational defensive  linemen for years to come. Carrington Valentine will always be ready to play. They are about 8 guys deep with quality pass catchers, and it feels like Green Bay will always have capable backup offensive linemen. 

Finally, erm, I don’t know what to do at kicker. I’m not a kicking coach. I’m not an expert. Anders Carlson could be elite next year. He could also be awful. It’s a ridiculously tough position to predict. Go with your gut, Gutey.