The 2022 offseason has seen the departure of the Packers’ top two wide receivers. Their absence naturally places a heavier burden on the team’s tight ends to produce more in 2022 than they did last season.
Much of the unit’s expectations will, of course, fall on Robert Tonyan. The 28-year-old is in line to once again serve as Green Bay’s top TE, after the team elected not to draft one in the spring. He emerged as a key part of their passing attack in 2020; that season, he totalled 52 catches for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns, which tied him for the league lead in majors at the position.
The 2021 campaign was a much different story, however. A torn ACL ended his season in October, leaving him with only 204 receiving yards, and severely limiting the Packers’ overall production at the position. He re-signed with the team on a one-year deal this offseason, though, meaning he once again enters a new campaign with significant expectations.
However, it remains to be seen if he will have recovered from the injury in time for the fall. Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes that Tonyan spent all of the team’s OTAs and minicamp rehabbing his knee (subscription required). At this point, it “remains unclear” if he will be available by the start of the regular season. His absence extending into 2022 would shift attention primarily to the team’s other, less experienced options at the position.
That includes Josiah Deguara. The 2020 third-rounder missed nearly all of his rookie season due to injury, and started only two contests last year. He was nevertheless the team’s most productive TE, with 245 yards and a pair of scores. If Tonyan is unable to see the field early this season, Deguara (along with fellow 2020 draftee Tyler Davis and veteran Marcedes Lewis) will shoulder a larger workload, especially in the absence of All-Pro wideout Davante Adams.
“It’s not an elephant in the room, but Davante’s gone,” Deguara said, via Mike Spofford of the team’s website. “All the balls that he got were much deserved, so there’s opportunity for guys to step up, and I’m going to try to be one of those guys.” The degree to which the TE room contributes this season could go a long way in determining Green Bay’s success.