After one season with Corey Bojorquez booting and holding the football as the team’s punter, the Green Bay Packers are going in a different direction for the 2022 season. Reports emerged earlier this week that Green Bay would not attempt to re-sign Bojorquez, and on Thursday morning the team has apparently found his replacement.
That replacement is Pat O’Donnell, who will sign with the Packers according to a report from NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports that O’Donnell’s contract is for two years and $4 million total with $1.6 million guaranteed, all but ensuring him the job for at least the upcoming season.
If O’Donnell’s name is familiar, that is understandable. He has spent the last eight years punting for the Chicago Bears, who drafted him out of the University of Miami in the sixth round in 2014. His experience punting in Chicago is likely a positive in the Packers’ eyes, given the swirling winds and cold weather conditions at Soldier Field.
As a member of the Bears, O’Donnell also has punted in Lambeau Field, playing eight games there over his career. In his 16 combined games against the Packers in both Chicago and Green Bay, he has averaged 44.3 gross yards per punt. Overall in 2021, O’Donnell finished 17th in the NFL in gross punting average at 46.2, three-tenths of a yard behind Bojorquez’s mark of 46.5. However, O’Donnell’s net average was much worse at 38.5, while Bojorquez hit 40.0 even.
O’Donnell has also served as the Bears’ holder for numerous kickers over his career. Additionally, O’Donnell has occasionally served as the Bears’ kickoff man, most recently and most extensively in the 2019 season when he split time with kicker Eddy Piñeiro. That year he kicked off 15 times, sending ten of those attempts into the end zone for touchbacks.
Green Bay now has five specialists on the roster, three of whom are place-kickers. Mason Crosby remains on the roster at present, joined by fellow kickers J.J. Molson and Dominik Eberle and long snapper Steven Wirtel.