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2023 Packers free agents who could follow Jerry Gray to the Falcons

Green Bay has a handful of options worth considering.

NFL: JAN 01 Vikings at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Jerry Gray joining the team as an assistant head coach/defense, the Falcons may well look to import some of his Green Bay favorites when free agency opens. The question is: Are there any compelling options for Atlanta to add?

The answer? Not many, especially not in the secondary, where Gray’s focus was the past couple of seasons with the Packers. There are a handful of impending free agent options that do make sense, though, especially on the defensive line and at safety. Let’s take a look.

S Adrian Amos

A veteran, durable safety who started 34 of a possible 34 games for Green Bay the past two years and is effective against the run. Amos has not been a huge asset in coverage—he’s allowed a combined nine touchdowns over the past two years—but he’s a steady veteran who does everything else at a reasonably high level. If the Falcons are looking for a capable stopgap starter rather than a long-term one to pair with Richie Grant, Amos could very well fit the bill.

OLB Justin Hollins

He spent the final six games in Green Bay after beginning the season with the Rams, and put up 2.5 sacks over that span. A rotational pass rusher, Hollins could fill out the team’s outside linebackers group after what we hope is a major signing or two to come.

CB Keisean Nixon

Nixon makes sense if you consider his work as a cornerback purely in a vacuum. He’s just 5’10”, but he has done solid work as a reserve and in his limited stints as a starter, and Gray has worked with him the past two years when he’s had his most productive defensive action. He was solid at worst in coverage a year ago.

Nixon is also a quality kick returner, giving the team another option if injuries strike Cordarrelle Patterson or Avery Williams, which adds more value to his signing. The team will need cornerback depth and special teams help, and especially if Mike Ford isn’t returning, Nixon’s ties to Gray could make him a strong addition.

DL Dean Lowry

A solid starter, Lowry is coming off a quieter year, given that his 2021 saw him start five more games (and play in two more) and put up 5 sacks, compared to just a half-sack a year ago. Heading into his age 29 season, Lowry would provide experienced and dependable work, though ideally he’d be more of a frequently-used rotational piece than someone the team is relying on to elevate the play of the line considerably.

S Rudy Ford

An interesting depth piece at safety, Ford made six starts a year ago and did fairly well on the season, managing three interceptions. Still fairly young, an experienced special teamer, and a solid all-around option, Ford could team with Jaylinn Hawkins (who I’m currently assuming will not be starting) to give the Falcons compelling and capable depth at safety.

DL Jarran Reed

The very best days of Reed’s career are likely behind him, given that he’ll be 31 and he had a 10.5 sack season with Seattle way back in 2018. Still a solid run defender with some pass rushing chops, Reed would be an obvious upgrade for an Atlanta defensive line that essentially stayed afloat based on heroic efforts from journeymen and undrafted free agents in addition to Grady Jarrett.

Who would you sign from this list, if anyone?