Packers at an Intersection With Previous All-Star Inside Linebacker.

Packers at an Intersection With Previous All-Star Inside Linebacker.

Packers at a Crossroads With Former All-Pro Inside Linebacker.

Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell on the field for the Packers in 2021.

As the Green Bay Packers transition defensive schemes under new coordinator Jeff Hafley, they confront a pivotal decision regarding former All-Pro inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.

The Packer’s move to a 4-3 front complicates the choice of whether or not to retain Campbell, whose performance has declined since his All-Pro season in 2021, or to create cap space by parting ways with him.


The 30-year-old linebacker’s current contract comes with a cap hit of $14.23 million in 2024, per Spotrac, presenting a sizable financial consideration for Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst to weigh.

Gutekunst has some flexibility here. However, it’s plausible that they’re not keen on releasing the veteran linebacker because Hafley’s new defensive scheme necessitates three off-ball linebackers on the field during base formations.

The Packers Would Love to Have De’Vondre Campbell Back.

Cutting Campbell before June 1 would free up $2.6 million in cap space. But, it would also put over $11 million in dead money onto the cap in 2024. On the other hand, a post-June 1 release by the front office would yield over $10 million in cap savings for this year.

While the impending decision regarding Campbell isn’t straightforward, the Packers general manager made it clear at the NFL Scouting Combine that he wants to retain Campbell.

“I’d love to have De’Vondre back,” Brian Gutekunst told reporters on February 27. “We’re going through all that, the contract stuff, right now. We’ll kind of see how it all shakes out. We’re working through some of that stuff, but he’s been an ultimate pro for us, really good player.

Even though the Packers lack depth at inside linebacker, Gutekunst may still have to consider moving on from Campbell and looking for a cheaper replacement. At 30 years old, he is the third-oldest player on the roster, behind David Bakhtiari and Preston Smith, and his best days are clearly behind him.

Despite his impressive credentials, Campbell has struggled to replicate his dominant 2021 All-Pro season — although injuries have played a factor. In 2023, he registered 75 tackles, seven pressures, two quarterback hits, and a pass deflection in 11 games.

A lower defensive grade.

Since joining the Packers, Campbell’s registered a lower defensive grade each season that he’s donned the green and gold, going from 85.0 (elite) in 2021 to 65.1 (above average) in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus.

What Are Green Bay’s Options at Inside Linebacker?

No matter how the Campbell situation shakes out, the Green Bay Packers inside linebacker room will be led by 2022 first-round pick Quay Walker.

In his two seasons with the Packers, Walker ranks 25th in the NFL with 239 total tackles. He’s also racked up 16 pressures, 12 tackles for loss, 10 pass deflections, four sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception.

“I know the coaches are really excited about him,” Gutekunst said. “As they got to know our team and go through our team, they’re really excited about what he can do.”

Walker’s upside is undeniable, but he still has a long way to go. Alongside Walker is 2021 sixth-rounder Isaiah McDuffie, who emerged as a reliable backup who can play rotational snaps — and played under Hafley at Boston College. According to Pro Football Focus, he earned a 77.7 tackling grade, which is considered good by their metric.

“It’s a little thin right now,” Gutekunst said of the Packers linebacker room. “There’s some guys that we’d like to get back. We’re going to have to add. There’s not a lot of personnel changes we’re going to have to make with the scheme change, but we’ll probably have to carry a couple more linebackers into training camp.”

There’s no doubt that the Packers will add bodies to this room, but there are a lot of unknowns surrounding this position group heading into the offseason, and Campbell’s status with the team is the biggest storyline.

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