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2023 Free Agency: Packers re-sign S Rudy Ford

Ford was a special teams ace and spot starter on defense in 2022

NFL: NOV 27 Packers at Eagles Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL Network’s Tom Peliserro has reported that safety Rudy Ford has re-signed with the Green Bay Packers on a one-year deal on Friday. Earlier today, the safety-needy Packers also managed to sign former San Francisco 49ers safety and special teams contributor Tarvarius Moore to a contract. At the moment, Moore’s contract details are unknown.

According to Peliserro, Ford’s deal is worth up to $2.5 million, meaning there are likely some incentives in his contract. Ford, who has been nationally recognized for his special teams play, was released one year into his two-year, $4.2 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars during final cuts last preseason. From there, he was picked up by the Packers and immediately contributed on special teams.

Ford actually ended up playing more defensive snaps last year than Green Bay’s staff probably expected when they made the signing in back in August. Over the first nine games of the season, Ford averaged just 7.4 defensive plays per game — most of which came against the New England Patriots in Week 4 due to an injury to starting safety Adrian Amos. From Week 10 on, though, Ford played an average of 46.9 snaps on the defensive side of the ball, filling in as the team’s third safety and temporarily as the preferred starter over Darnell Savage. Ford got the starting nod in every game from Week 10 through Week 16.

Conversely, Ford’s special teams snaps dropped when he became more involved on the defensive side of things. His snaps in the kicking game peaked with his 17-play mark in Week 3. Over the first nine games of the year, Ford averaged 9.6 special teams plays per game. That number dropped to a 2.8 play-per-game average from Week 10 on.

With Amos on the open market and Savage a potential trade option due to his hefty fifth-year option, don’t be surprised if Ford — a more consistent run defender than Savage — ends up starting on defense this year. A few days ago, safety looked like the biggest hole on the Packers’ roster. After the additions of Ford and Moore, though, the team has built itself up some depth in that unit.

Beyond just Savage, Ford and Moore, the team also returns 2022 seventh-round pick Tariq Carpenter and special teamer/big slot Innis Gaines for the 2023 season. It wasn’t uncommon for special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia to use six safeties on gameday last year, though, so it wouldn’t be shocking if they weren’t done adding to that room.