Latest On Packers, S Darnell Savage

Darnell Savage joined the Packers in 2019 with high expectations, but his time with the team could soon come to an end. The veteran safety was among those players whose contracts recently voided, creating dead cap charges regardless of if they re-sign with Green Bay or head elsewhere in free agency.

As noted at the time by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Savage’s contract will carry the largest dead money of the group. The Packers will be hit with a $5.46MM charge for the former first-rounder, who is on track to test the open market for the first time in his career next month. His representation is well aware of the opportunities which could arise taking him out of Green Bay.

“Darnell loved his time in Green Bay, and we remain optimistic that a deal can get done before the league year,” Savage’s agent Seth Katz said (via Demovsky). “But realistically, the window for free agent communication is around the corner, and there will be significant interest in Darnell.”

Savage remained a full-time starter throughout much his five seasons with the Packers, a tenure which included a number of ups and downs. The former first-rounder was benched in a four-game stretch in 2022, although he returned to first-team action when healthy this past season. He was limited to 10 regular season contests due to a calf injury, but he was activated in time for Green Bay’s closing regular season contests and both playoff games.

The Maryland alum totaled a career-low 51 tackles in 2023, and he was held without an interception (in the regular season) for the first time. Savage’s downturn in ball production (one pass deflection) came about as his struggles in coverage continued. He allowed a completion percentage of 78.3% as the nearest defender while surrendering an opposing passer rating above 100 for the third consecutive season. PFF rated Savage 15th amongst qualifying safeties, though, a far more favorable evaluation than the team’s other options at the position.

Still, it would come as little surprise if the 26-year-old were to head elsewhere. Demovsky confirms no contract talks have taken place between Savage and the Packers, leaving him on course for free agency. Presuming the Buccaneers use the franchise tag on All-Pro Antoine Winfield Jr., the list of available safeties will likely offer little in the way of star power. Demovsky reports Savage could land the largest deal in the 2024 class at an AAV between $5MM and $7MM.

In any event, the Packers could see a number of departures on the backend this offseason. Savage is joined by Rudy Ford and Jonathan Owens – who combined to see 20 starts last season – as pending free agents. With a new defensive coordinator in place, improvements in the secondary will be a key offseason goal. A number of new faces at the safety position could be a major factor in that effort.

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