You know that nothing is guaranteed and there are holes yet to be filled, but didn’t we all breathe a sigh of relief after the Packers brought in two talented, mismatch-creating tight ends through free agency?
Let’s update the Packers' situation by making some reasonable guesses about the salary cap.
The numbers are not released yet for Lance Kendricks’ contract. According to Rob Demovsky, the Packers were left with a little over $29 million in cap space after the Martellus Bennett signing. Let’s say Lance Kendricks comes in for around 2 million per year (I think that’s a fair number for our purposes here).
The Packers will need approximately 5 million to sign their rookie class. Let’s say Lacy gets between 1-2 million per year (too high?). Datone Jones could come in between 3-5 million.
If TJ Lang returns, maybe the Packers get a minor discount, but the stories I’ve read make it sound like Lang is going to give the Packers a chance to match offers he receives. Every story on what he may command has valued him between 8-10 million per year.
This would leave the Packers in the ball park of 5-10 million left in cap space.
I would think some of that money could go towards a very affordable cornerback or edge defender.
A number of the cornerbacks I mentioned in this article are still on the market and affordable at that price.
Is there enough there to a snag Connor Barwin? Would you give up Datone Jones, who will turn 27 this summer, to make room for Barwin who will turn 31 in October?
One thing that is already certain is that the NFL draft for the Packers has a lot less pressure on it.
Speaking on the strengths of this year’s draft, Mel Kiper stated that this year is, “A good year for cornerbacks…I think there are some good combo guys, some of those defensive end/outside linebacker types that can rush the passer…Running backs, O.K…But tight end is spectacular.”
Perhaps a solid tight end to develop can be picked up in the mid-rounds. But I think we all agree that cornerback and outside linebacker, particularly one who can get after the quarterback, are the next two biggest holes on the team. I also say this assuming Eddie Lacy returns, which isn’t necessarily certain.
To answer the question at the top, I for one would feel far better if the Packers picked up a cheap veteran for depth at either cornerback or outside linebacker before the draft. If Barwin comes at a reasonable price tag, that would be ideal. However, I already feel pretty good about our chances of finding what we need in this year’s draft if Ted Thompson decides to end his brief foray into free agency.
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