As the “legal tampering” period of the offseason begins, let’s take a look at a few free agency options at cornerback that I think would be intriguing.
First, a couple of disclaimers. I view the following players as representative of the type of player I think the Packers should pursue, if not that specific player.
I mainly focused on corners that spend most of their time on the outside. It is my hope that Micah Hyde re-signs and continues to be our jack of all trades, in addition to rotating at the nickel and dime corner spots along with Quenten Rollins or perhaps Ladarius Gunter.
Finally, I tried to shop in the discount aisle. I do not know exactly what the market value for these players will be, but I did not choose top-flight players nor go to the basement clearance rack.
I would be remiss to not include Davon House for the simple reasons that he is a former Packer and he was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Due to being cut, he is safe in terms of the 2018 compensatory draft pick formula.
After leaving Green Bay, House played at essentially the same level during his first year with the Jaguars as he did during his last year in Green Bay. He had four picks that first year in Jacksonville. However, last season he was benched for performance reasons.
If scouts conclude House could return to his 2015 playing level, he makes sense. If anyone on this list becomes a Packer in 2017, House may be the most likely option. But, let’s indulge ourselves a bit more anyway.
Turning now to another member of the 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars, Prince Amukamara. Since his rookie season in 2011, Amukamara has been a very consistent player, though not necessarily flashy or dominant. In 2016, he ranked 41st in the NFL in coverage according to Pro Football Focus.
The release of Davon House may signal that Amukamara is a high priority for the Jaguars to sign. None of us want the Packers to enter a bidding war, but Amukamara can play on the outside and be steady.
Jerraud Powers turns 30 this summer and played last season on a one year prove-it deal with the Baltimore Ravens. He was not formidable in 2016 but ranked ahead of Leodis McKelvin of the Buffalo Bills and Trae Waynes of the Minnesota Vikings according to Pro Football Focus.
Powers has played more in the nickel corner spot as he’s gotten older. He had two interceptions last season.
Powers’ cap hit for the Ravens last year was $1.75 million and while he had a sturdy season, he’s not likely to draw much more than that this year. He could be an affordable plug-and-play.
Brandon Flowers was rumored to be released at the time of writing of this post. He is certainly an older cornerback at this point at age 31, and he finished the season on IR due to a concussion.
I included Flowers because these factors should make him affordable, and his performance in coverage when he actually played last year was still sadly better than anyone else currently on the Packers’ roster. He is not an ascending player, but a young secondary could use a temporary veteran presence while they develop.
None of us truly knows how realistic any of these options are, but I’m operating on the assumption that the players above have more potential of becoming Packers than the likes of A.J. Bouye, Morris Claiborne or Logan Ryan, though my personal wish list has them on it.
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