Packers Bring Back All-Pro Specialist on 3-Year Deal - Sport News

Packers Bring Back All-Pro Specialist on 3-Year Deal

The Green Bay Packers have orchestrated massive change to the roster in little more than a day, but there are some familiar faces returning during this free agency period.

Among the most important is that of Keisean Nixon, a cornerback and two-time All-Pro kickoff returner, who the Packers failed to extend ahead of free agency but whose future the team addressed on Tuesday, March 12.

“The #Packers are bringing back their All-Pro returner, signing Keisean Nixon back to a 3-year, $18M deal that can go to $19.2M max,” Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported via X. “One of their priorities.”

Keisean Nixon Emerged as Packers’ Starting Nickel CB in 2023

Keisean Nixon, Packers

Green Bay was unable to reach an agreement with Nixon before his contract voided earlier this month, though the team’s intention has always been to bring him back into the fold.

“The Packers have been making moves that will create salary cap room so they have the option of being a player in free agency,” Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on March 10. “They are likely to pursue a safety and potentially players at other positions. In addition, they have several of their own free agents they want to re-sign, such as cornerback/returner Keisean Nixon, linebacker Eric Wilson and tight end Tyler Davis.”

Nixon has earned first-team All-Pro honors as a kickoff returner in each of the past two seasons, but he does more than contribute on special teams. He also started 13 of 17 regular-season games as the Packers’ nickel cornerback in 2023.

Nixon wasn’t an overwhelming cover corner by any means, but he filled the slot role adequately across 535 coverage snaps, earning a 60.3 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus (PFF). Nixon tallied six pass breakups and an interception across 81 targets last season, according to Pro Football Reference.

PFF also credited Nixon with a sack.

Safety Xavier McKinney Joins Keisean Nixon in Packers’ Secondary

Xavier McKinney, a potential Raiders target

While bringing Nixon back is huge for Green Bay’s special teams unit and meaningful for depth in the defensive backfield, the big news in the Packers’ secondary came on Monday via the signing of former New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney.

Green Bay inked McKinney to a four-year deal worth $68 million total. He will replace former first-round pick Darnell Savage Jr., who left the team in free agency to become a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

PFF graded McKinney as one of NFL’s top safeties in 2023. He was excellent in coverage from the position and an above-average run defender, per the website’s analytics metrics.

McKinney tallied 94 solo tackles and three interceptions last year, according to PFF. He also afforded opposing quarterbacks just 33 completions across 54 targets over a sample size of 614 coverage snaps. QBs amassed a collective passer rating of just 52.1 when targeting McKinney last season.

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