Chicago Bears NFC North Rivals: A look at the Green Bay Packers

In our second series looking at NFC North rival this off-season and their draft needs on April 25, we look at the Green Bay Packers, who the Bears must overcome if they want to become a perennial contender moving forward.
Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal
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The Packers off-season moves

Our colleague Cameron Ellis wrote about the moves each NFC North rival has made and mentioned the addition of safety Xavier McKinney and running back Josh Jacobs are the two moves that should concern the Bears fans.

McKinney was ranked the best safety in coverage according to Pro Football Focus last season(91.2 grade), did not allow a single touchdown, and recorded three interceptions. He is replacing Darnell Savage, who left to join Jacksonville. McKinney is still only 24 years old and his best playing days are still ahead. Many Bears fans wanted to see him sign with the Bears and replace injury-prone Eddie Jackson. But instead, they will have to watch him in a Packers uniform for the next four years.

Signing Josh Jacobs was a surprise move even by the Packers' standard. After leading the league in rushing yards in 2022 with 1,653 yards playing for the Las Vegas Raiders, they placed a franchise tag on him last off-season. He did not sign until late August and rushed for only 805 yards and a career-low 3.5 yards per carry. The Bears will likely face Jacobs, who will be motivated to prove doubters wrong about last season's dropoff.

The signing of Jacobs ended Aaron Jones' career. He gave the Bears plenty of problems. But he ended up signing with the Minnesota Vikings, so they will still have to face him twice a year again next season. There is no doubt that the Bears' run defense will face a major test next season.

The other notable loss for the Packers this off-season is linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, who was released after becoming an All-Pro linebacker in 2021. They also released former All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari, who had been injury-prone throughout his career, playing only 14 games the last three years, and finally cut ties with him. Unless he goes to the New York Jets and reunites with Aaron Rodgers, he may be better off calling it a career. They also lost guard Jon Runyan Jr., who signed with the New York Giants this off-season.

But their biggest addition this off-season could be the addition of new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, who left his head coaching position at Boston College to replace Jeff Berry. He was to the Packers fans what Luke Getsy was to the Bears fans. Expect their defense to look significantly different schematically and improve after this off-season.