Rather than taking a gamble and hoping that he can stay upright — something that he’s failed to do in five years in the NFL —, Kevin King is essentially redshirting the 2022 campaign.
Instead, he’s using it as an opportunity to prioritize his health and ensure that, once does return, he’ll be able to remain in the lineup for the duration of the year. He’ll make his comeback in 2023 when he’ll be 28 years old, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus.
A No. 33 overall pick of the Packers in the spring of 2017, health — or a lack thereof — has been the story of King’s career to this point. He missed 29 of a possible 80 games in Green Bay while dealing with a variety of injuries, including a shoulder issue that plagued him throughout his entire rookie season. Once the year was over, he had off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum.
That’s in addition to groin, hip, hamstring and quadriceps injuries, as well as a concussion that sidelined him for two games last season.
Even after a disastrous performance in the NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers retained King on a one-year, $5 million dollar deal, though, he’d accumulate just six starts in 2021. Tom Brady treated King as if he were the weakest link of the secondary, completing five of his seven pass attempts into King’s coverage for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Nevertheless, King remains as one of the most experienced players currently on the free-agent market. Kyed added that King had several offers on the table to play in 2022, but it’d be all for naught if he isn’t able to stay available.
Since King’s departure, the Packers have since renovated their secondary by drafting Eric Stokes last spring and plucking Rasul Douglas off of the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in October. Stokes and Douglas help headline the team’s cornerbacks alongside Jaire Alexanderwho endured an AC joint sprain on Oct. 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He spent the remainder of the year on injured reserve before returning in time for the postseason meeting versus the San Francisco 49ers, however, Alexander played just eight defensive snaps.
There’s not necessarily a need for King’s services in Green Bay — at least not right now — but that could certainly change by the time he revisits playing again. In the 51 games King did play, he secured seven interceptions — including five in 2019 when he played a career-high 15 games — and 30 defended passes.
Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer for Packer Report and 247Sports. He’s entering his eighth season covering the Green Bay Packers. Follow him on Twitter @itszacharyj or contact him via email at email@example.com.