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Packers Re-Signing All-Pro Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell

All-Pro linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, coming off a monster 2021 season, is back on a five-year contract, agent Joe Panos said.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers are re-signing linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, Packer Central has learned.

According to his agent, Joe Panos, it’s a five-year deal worth $50 million. He will get $16.25 million in Year 1, $21.5 million in Year 2 and $32.25 million by Year 3. The Year 1 cap charge is less than $5 million.

It’s a massive score for the Packers, who got an All-Pro season from a bargain-rack June signing.

The Packers almost certainly wouldn’t have finished with 13 wins if not for Campbell providing the linebacker play the team had lacked for years – decades, even. Even while sitting out the season finale against Detroit, Campbell finished seventh in the NFL with 145 tackles. He added six tackles for losses, six quarterback hits, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Before sitting out Week 18, he led the NFL with 101 solo tackles.

Of the 34 players with at least 107 tackles, Campbell and Washington’s Cole Holcomb were the only players with at least one sack, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Campbell was the only linebacker in the league with 100-plus tackles and at least two sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. He tackled running backs. He covered tight ends. He was the glue to the defense.

According to SIS, 30 linebackers had 100-plus tackles. Of that group, Campbell ranked second with 4.5 yards allowed per target in the passing game and first with a missed tackle rate of 3.3 percent.

It was a remarkable year that resulted in the type of season the Packers could only have hoped for and Campbell envisioned.

In five NFL seasons, Campbell topped 90 tackles four times – including 129 tackles for Atlanta in 2019. He was dependable (five years of excellent tackling), versatile (three-down history) and durable (a 16-game starter the previous four seasons). And yet, when the league-year started on March 17, he was largely ignored in free agency. Same with April 17. And May 17.

“At that point, my honest thought process is, ‘What am I doing wrong?’” Campbell said before the playoffs. “It’s a league full of good players but I feel like I’m just as good if not better than all these guys. To see them get some of these big deals they’re getting and here I am being told that I have to basically prove myself and I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like there’s nothing I need to prove. Just check the tape. The tape don’t lie.’ I’ve been producing for years and years and years in every single role that I’ve been asked to do.”

Campbell signed a one-year deal worth merely $2 million. Then gave Green Bay its first All-Pro off-the-ball linebacker since Ray Nitschke in 1966.

The All-Pro news was delivered by coach Matt LaFleur during a team meeting. He said there were three All-Pros. Two were obvious – MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and indomitable receiver Davante Adams. The third?

“I was thinking, ‘Well, me, Davante and it’s maybe Rasul (Douglas)? Or maybe De’Vondre? That would be amazing if it was De’Vondre,” Rodgers recalled. “When he said De’Vondre, everybody had this big smile on their face and was clapping and hooting and hollering for him, just because we love him.”

Added Adams, “We were all excited. I was way more excited for him than I was myself. Nobody more deserving on our team to be a first-team All-Pro than Dre, in my eyes.”

Retaining Campbell, who will turn 29 on July 1, was a huge move for the Packers. Their on-paper depth charge for mid-March would have been led by Krys Barnes and Ty Summers. They’ve already let go outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and could lose cornerback Rasul Douglas. Losing Campbell, too, would have been a massive blow to a defense that helped the Packers win 13 games and was good enough to beat the 49ers in the divisional playoffs.

“Everybody’s whole question is, ‘What’s so different? How did you just become this elite player all of a sudden?’” Campbell said. “I’ve been the same player my whole career. My job responsibilities have just been different. I’ve never been a true Mike. I’ve never been put in a position to make plays week in and week out. That was something I was very adamant about coming into the offseason. I was going to sign somewhere that allowed to me to be the guy. Like I said, Green Bay allowed me that opportunity and I’m just thankful for it – for them believing in me when a lot of people didn’t.”