After losing linebacker Jake Ryan for the season due to a torn ACL, the Packers considered NaVorro Bowman and a host of other veteran linebackers, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, it appears Green Bay will hold off on signing a new linebacker for the time being.
Bowman spent the entire 2017 campaign in the Bay Area, but split his time between two clubs thanks to a midseason trade that sent him from the 49ers to the Raiders. The 30-year-old Bowman hasn’t garnered much interest since the free agent market opened in March, although the Raiders have expressed a desire to re-sign him despite adding other veteran ‘backers such as Derrick Johnson, Tahir Whitehead, and Emmanuel Lamur during the offseason.
The Packers are keeping a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Mike Pettine, so Bowman would likely be comfortable in a scheme he’s played for most of his career. But Green Bay instead wants to give its younger players a chance to play, per Pelissero. Rookie third-round pick Oren Burks looks like a clear candidate to receive playing time next to Blake Martinez, while Pelissero indicates Ahmad Thomas (whom the Packers picked up last November) is also an internal favorite.
If Green Bay does end up looking at other free agent linebackers (instead of Bowman), a few options might stand out. Gerald Hodges is familiar with a 3-4 system (and recently took a visit with the Cardinals), Karlos Dansby played under Pettine with the Browns, and Lawrence Timmons offers 140 starts worth of experience.
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