King, a second-round pick in 2017, was an unrestricted free agent this spring after an abysmal 2020 that ended with a pronounced thud. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers repeatedly targeted King, burning him twice on their opening drive (once on a key third-down conversion, once for a touchdown) and then again right before halftime. Then, King committed a holding penalty on what became the Buccaneers’ final drive, sealing the win for Tampa Bay.
The Packers can argue that King’s performance was hampered by injury, and they’d have a point. He played hurt in the NFC Championship and battled injuries throughout the season. But King has essentially always been hurt: he’s never played a full season, even in 2019, his best year.
However, King does come at an affordable price, and it seems likely that even his affordable $6 million deal contains a fair bit of money tied to incentives. That’s how the Packers have done business this offseason, and it’s probable that will continue here.
This move certainly doesn’t preclude the Packers from drafting a corner early, either. Brian Gutekunst’s pro day circuit this spring has had him crossing paths with many high-end cornerback prospects, and it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see the Packers take one in the first or second round, even with King and 2018 second-round pick Josh Jackson on the roster.
At the very least, the Packers have filled a hole on their roster with a familiar face, one who has played fairly well for small stretches in the past, however rarely. That’s likely cold comfort for Packers fans still smarting from King’s NFC Championship performance, but it’s the best the Packers have for right now.