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Intriguing Free Agent Cornerbacks

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Intriguing Free Agent Cornerbacks

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (36) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lphill's picture

Was a report today that the Packers made contact with House's agent.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I can not see the Pack paying high bucks to house, might be ok at a low dollar offer.

dobber's picture

Because of this, if they do sign House, I suspect it will be some time before it happens.

Razer's picture

Signing House would be a sideways step for a defense that has been slipping. We would be better off getting more pass rush and relying on the draft for better corners.

Overall, there isn't enough FA agent talent and too many teams with lots of money to expect us to snag anything of value this year. Just watch what Nick Perry commands in this market.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sometimes a sideways step is key to moving forward. That sideways thing seems to be about talent. House is still young. If he is better than current personnel, I'm fine with bringing him in. Your second point references money. I grant that is the biggest issue.

Patrick Pockat's picture

You can never have too many DB's. If House is willing to sign cheap he'll be a Packer. Not a starter and maybe a nickle or dime back will give them some depth.

akeemthedream's picture

With Guion's suspension, here is Green Bay's current defensive depth chart:

DE: Lowry
DT: Clark
DE: Daniels, Ringo
OLB: Matthews, Fackrell, Elliott
ILB: Martinez, Ryan, Thomas, Tripp
CB: Randall, Rollins, Gunter, Goodson
FS: Clinton-Dix
SS: Burnett, Brice

That is so, so, so bad.
Adding House to that group does nothing.

On offense they may possibly lose their starting RG, their starting TE, and their starting RB.
Oh - and they're probably going to lose their backup OC, while their only other OC will miss most offseason activities due to ankle surgery.

One of two things is happening, here.
1. Thompson has some sort of master plan that he's been brewing for a year (allowing half the team to reach FA all at the same time).
2. Thompson has completely lost his grip on the wheel.

Guess all we can do is trust that this dude knows what the hell he's doing.

Ryan Graham's picture

All of this leads me to believe that Ted must have plans to make a bigger splash in the market than normal. It's not every year you have 12 players most starters and the rest critical role players hitting free agency. Im an advocate for bringing Brandon Flowers on board for an affordable price, along with Davon House and resigning Micah Hyde. I highly doubt Ted brings all of his own "chicks from the barn" (seriously?) back particularly not Perry or Lang due to being outbid. Corner and edge are necessary to replenish for obvious reasons. You can't address all these positions in the draft, if that's Ted's plan we will end up backsliding. Can't do anything but wait and see what he's got planned

lebowski's picture

good Lord, that is one hideous defensive lineup. How in the world did it come to this

Hematite's picture

Ted Thompson's increasingly poor personnel decisions got the Packers in this sad situation.

dobber's picture

You look at two of the key players who are free agents, Perry and Cook, both of whom were on one-year deals. Cook didn't want more than the one year, but I think he was a great value given what the Packers paid. Perry wasn't worth a long-term deal and not worth the 5th year option he would have played under otherwise (which would have made him a UFA this year, too, after paying him much more than he got)...one year there makes sense.

As for the draft class of 2013, whose rookie deals are up, it turned out that there were several key contributors there: Lacy, Bakhtiari, Tretter, Hyde. I would argue that every one of those players who has clearly earned a new deal already has one. Jones didn't earn his 5th year option, either, so now he's on the market. So now you can push those players into the current FA year.

Some argue roster mis-management, but it's just a confluence of events. It happens. Look at the (ulp) Patriots. They've got 14 UFAs this off-season including Dont'a Hightower, Jabaal Sheard, Martellus Bennett, Sebastian Vollmer, Legarrette Blount, Logan Ryan--and they tendered Malcolm Butler at the first-round level. They've got issues, too. It happens to everyone eventually.

akeemthedream's picture

Patriots could let all of those guys go and they'll still win the Super Bowl.
I don't think the Patriots should be part of NFL discussions or coverage anymore.

They are in a league all by themselves.

They have no peer.

No one can compete with them.

dobber's picture

"They are in a league all by themselves.
They have no peer."

That's why I had the (ulp) in there: I was gagging on my own words. I hate using them as an example, but it's hard not to...

slit's picture

I'm leaning towards 2.

dobber's picture

True, it looks bad now.

We could get all bent out of shape about the current state of the roster, OR we could wait until June when player procurement through signings and the draft is over so we really have some idea where the holes will be.

I'll choose the latter.

akeemthedream's picture

Probably the best approach.
Even if they bring Perry and Hyde back, do you think those two and a couple rookies change this defense at all?

Because the best case scenario (with TT as GM) is just that - "fixing" the defense by adding rookies and resigning guys who were part of the problem (horrible defense).

I don't think it'll be enough.

dobber's picture

I don't disagree with you at all. You're absolutely right with regard to Perry and Hyde, and, absent a complete resurrection at CB, what you've described is not likely to fix what we saw last season. But at this stage, the picture is very one-sided: all we're seeing is departures.

Ryan Graham's picture

Agreed. It's hard not to be frustrated knowing Ted's tendencies in the off season. I have as many poor remarks against Ted as the next guy because of this. Draft and develop is his focus, as it should be when you draft well. We've seen Ted draft well in some positions such as offensive line and we've seen him wiff entirely in other areas like D line and some linebackers. The 2013 draft class turned out to be one of his best particularly due to contributors in the middle rounds. 2012 wasn't so good, added a couple prove it one year deals to add onto this year's set of free agents. I'm inclined to believe that Ted is going to be a little more active this off-season due to all this but there's only so much to say about it until training camp.

Handsback's picture

Maybe Calais from AZ is on TT's watch list, or even Brandon Williams? Alan Branch and Chris Baker won't cost a lot and maybe even better than Guion.
The point I believe is the Dline can be improved with smaller amounts of cash vs. OLBs and CBs. I suspect House will be signed and I think it would be a good signing. He needs a change of teams to find his mojo again.
OLB?????I'm sure Hightower will be too expensive. John Simon or Jarvis Jones might be OK, and I suspect film will prove Simon is the better player.

akeemthedream's picture

The Packers will not sign a player from another team.
It's just that simple.
Any other opinion is just hope.

dobber's picture

Moooooo!

akeemthedream's picture

?

dobber's picture

It was a comment reminiscent of a certain person who used to post here regularly who used a bovine screen name. That's all...

DesertPackFan's picture

Packers don't need more depth CB, they need a #1, shutdown CB to take the pressure off Randall Rollins and Gunter. If they sign a FA CB, the players mentioned don't provide anything we need. A decent starter will NOT improve the Defense to give us a shot at a SB

DesertPackFan's picture

Packers don't need more depth CB, they need a #1, shutdown CB to take the pressure off Randall Rollins and Gunter. If they sign a FA CB, the players mentioned don't provide anything we need. A decent starter will NOT improve the Defense to give us a shot at a SB

DesertPackFan's picture

Packers don't need more depth CB, they need a #1, shutdown CB to take the pressure off Randall Rollins and Gunter. If they sign a FA CB, the players mentioned don't provide anything we need. A decent starter will NOT improve the Defense to give us a shot at a SB

kevinmooney's picture

Neither Super Bowl team this year had a true shutdown corner. They each had multiple solid corners. I would love a shutdown guy. But we draft near the bottom and there may be one corner that's a potential shutdown guy in free agency, but Bouye's going to get silly money. You work with what is possible.

Ryan Graham's picture

Well it is possible for the packers to afford a shut down corner, but realistically that doesn't matter considering who's got a hold of the wheel. Even then you don't necessarily need to spend $15M/year on a corner. You need a guy to move the pecking order down a rung so Randall is playing back at the 2cb as planned, rollins and gunter are backups, and ideally you play Hyde and or even brice or another corner in on nickel and dime packages, depends on the play I think Brice could eventually do some damage blitzing from the slot. Randall can handle the number 2 w.o in most cases, after last year I'm sure put some notches in on his belt that is experience and could use a a veteran to keep that progress going.

porupack's picture

Exactly right RG. Putting FA money for a #1 CB is the best money well spent....just like you say, it moves the other CBs one rung down the ladder....and they will be just fine in the #2 and #3 WR coverages. That saves high draft rounds for OLB and ILB....and now DT (to replace Guion).
I think signing DHouse is a typical ted move...and keeps mediocrity in place.

kevinmooney's picture

RG - Not arguing by the way - enjoying the discussion. BUT- 15M is a pretty penny - Patrick Peterson averages 14M. And that type of guy just is not available. If he were - looking at the Packers' situation - who would you give up to make 15M possible?

DesertPackFan's picture

Butler and Logan Ryan are both quality CB for NE. Atl has Alford and Jalen Collins. All 4 of them are decent or better which is quite a bit more than what the Packers can say. And Atl plays cover 3 so the CB don't need to be shut down guys.

The Packers need a #1 CB physically and mentally who can take pressure off them for now. Otherwise your playing all your DB's in coverage and safeties deep. Without a #1 CB the Defense won't dramatically improve. It needs someone to step into Shields role and basically take the #1 WR or shut down his side of the field so they can give help to the others. Packers are a man coverage team so they need at legit #1 or the D will be spread too thin.

In man coverage scheme, if you don't have a Shutdown #1 CB, you better have 2 quality CB who can survive on an island. As of now the Packers have neither a #1 or even 2 CB that can survive w/o help. Different schemes have different requirements.

kevinmooney's picture

No one would ever disagree it's good to have a "#1 cornerback" - But there isn't a shelf with ten of them on it where you go pick one out. Those players are quality now but look at Jalen Collins' first year and Robert Alford's first two years in the league - terrible. Falcons were patient. I am not a draft-only guy though either - I'm writing here advocating for the Packers to pick someone up. But I would be wasting my time pining over AJ Bouye because it's not going to happen. And I would love to be wrong about that.

Ryan Graham's picture

I think most all of us are on the same page. From what I've read, Stephon Gilmore is setting himself at a value of about $15M which in my opinion would be a great pickup. Not likely, or for that amount. It is a gauge for the cornerback market though. Especially after having talked with the bears the past two days I don't see Ted trying to out big them, I do like davon house because I trust him to run man coverage with most guys. His first season at Jacksonville he set a franchise record of pass breakups. Then he declined, my guess is because he didn't like the flux that Gus Bradley allowed on that team for all that talent, but who knows and who cares. I'll take that value if he's willing to come back for maybe $4M a year for 3 years. Draft another guy in the mid rounds maybe, that position group could become quite competitive next year...but the right moves have to be made.

Hypothetically you pickup House. Or Flowers or Jim-Bob. As long as that guy can play man coverage. With decent man coverage for 5-7 seconds a play on average that elevates the pass rushers' ability to make plays up front. May not get a whole lot more than 40 sacks like last year - 3rd in the NFL- bit boy do you out heat on that qb, he misfires, less catches more pass breakups, interceptions...I'm a McCarthy advocate for the most part but holy cats. I'm almost ready to call guilt by association if Capers can't do anything with an improved staff

dobber's picture

I think, with the depth in this draft class at CB, that we'll see a veteran CB or two cut in June. Those guys might be what the Packers use to add a better-than-average CB to the rotation.

Dzehren's picture

Kevin- well thought bout and realistic article at the free agent moment. If we can sign 1 of these you mentioned and another CB/ DB later in FA that's released, that would be a welcome addition while adding an additional Cb/DB in the top 4 roulnds and 1 late round with a couple Develppmental UDFA's this would solve the problem.

ironman3169's picture

PASS RUSH!!!

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