Will Redmond provides luxury of experience to Packers' secondary
Seventh in a series on the Packers' unrestricted free agents and their likelihood of remaining with the team.
GREEN BAY - It took Will Redmond a long time to arrive at his 2019 season.
A former third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, Redmond was a member of three teams before being made active for his first game. That came in 2018, when Redmond played in five games with the Packers and was inactive for another, but he played only four defensive snaps. His other reps came on special teams.
After all the injuries, all the moving, all the waiting, Redmond finally cracked the Packers’ defensive back rotation last season. His 271 snaps came in 13 games, including four starts. A versatile reserve in the Packers' secondary, he added another 187 reps on special teams.
It might seem strange that a player with only 18 career games is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but that’s the winding path Redmond has traveled. He spent his entire rookie season on the 49ers’ injured reserve list because of a knee injury, then the first eight games of the 2017 season because of an ankle injury. He was released midway through his second season and added to the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad.
The Chiefs released Redmond out of camp in 2018. The Packers signed Redmond to their practice squad 10 days later, and they promoted him to their active roster for six games later that season.
Now Redmond, who brings depth to the defensive backfield, is among the free-agent decisions general manager Brian Gutekunst will need to make this month.
Age next season: 27.
Initially acquired: Signed to Packers practice squad Sept. 11, 2018.
Stats: 36 tackles, 1 defended pass.
Argument for: The Packers have long been undermanned in their secondary, their lack of depth a problem when the attrition of injuries hit through the course of a season. That began to change last year, and not only because they got improved health. Redmond was part of a group that added depth in the defensive backfield, a young player who had been in the league long enough for his spot duty to not be too big for him. The difference in plugging a fourth-year player into a part-time role, as opposed to an undrafted rookie, was substantial. You can never have enough competent defensive backs, and Redmond won’t command a hefty salary.
Argument against: At most, Redmond is a place holder on the roster. If the Packers find more talent for their secondary, they could move on. There also are questions about Redmond’s ability to stay healthy over the long term. Even if he mostly stayed on the field in 2019, a hamstring injury forced him to miss games late in the season. Still, there’s a big difference between making the offseason roster and being selected on the 53. If the Packers want to keep Redmond in the fold this spring, it won’t cost much.
Quotable: “I think Will’s done a great job. I tell you what, he gives it his all each and every day, and just like a lot of other players, he’s fighting through a lot of stuff. But one thing you can always count on is you are going to get his best. He’s going to be fully prepared. I think he’s definitely earned the respect from every guy in that locker room, from his coaches. And again, just another guy that we’re really happy to have.” — Packers coach Matt LaFleur